Ellington Indigos (1957)

LP: Columbia CS 8053 (stereo)
LP: Columbia CL1085 (mono)
CD: Columbia CK 4444 (U.S.)
CD: Columbia COL 4723642 (France)

Stunningly beautiful. The band plays perfectly. All the solos are fantastic. This album of romantic ballads is easily in the top 1% in my record collection of several thousand items.

Picking highlights is an exercise in futility as every second of this album is wonderful. But don't miss Duke's piano with the full band on "Solitude" and in a trio setting on "All The Things You Are." Ozzie Bailey's vocal on Autumn Leaves is serene and lovely, but when coupled with the violin of Ray Nance, the beauty becomes more than we mere mortals deserve.

Here are the tracks on the CD with dates recorded, composers, and featured soloists. Note that track 11 is available only on the French CD (or the mono LP).

Date Track Title (Composer) Soloist
14oct57 1 Solitude (Ellington-DeLange-Mills) Duke Ellington, p
10oct57 2 Where Or When (Rodgers-Hart) Paul Gonsalves, ts
9sep57 3 Mood Indigo (Ellington-Bigard-Mills) Shorty Baker, t
10oct57 4 Night And Day (Porter) Paul Gonsalves, ts
1oct57 5 Prelude To A Kiss (Ellington-Gordon-Mills) Johnny Hodges, as
10oct57 6 All The Things You Are (Hammerstein-Kern) Duke Ellington, p
10oct57 7 Willow Weep For Me (Ronell) Shorty Baker, t
9sep57 8 Tenderly (Lawrence-Gross) Jimmy Hamilton, cl
1oct57 9 Dancing In The Dark (Dietz-Schwartz) Harry Carney, bs
1oct57 10 Autumn Leaves (Prever-Mercer-Kosma) [Ozzie Bailey, vocal] Ray Nance, vn
13mar57 [11] The Sky Fell Down Ray Nance, t

If you get hooked on this music, as I did, you might want more than just the U.S. version of the CD as the number of tracks varies from issue to issue.

The stereo LP contains 8 tracks.
The mono LP contains 9 tracks.
The U.S. CD contains 10 tracks.
The French CD contains 11 tracks.

The mono LP of Ellington Indigos (Columbia CL 1085) is worth getting because it contains alternate takes of "Mood Indigo" and "Willow Weep For Me." as well as a bonus track "The Sky Fell Down" (composed by Ellington). In addition, "The Sky Fell Down" is available on the French CD reissue of Ellington Indigos (Columbia COL 4723642).

The CD Liner Notes say that "Night And Day" is previously unreleased and that "Autumn Leaves" is an alternate take. "Autumn Leaves" is not an alternate take, it is the same take as the LP, but on the LP Ozzie Bailey's first vocal chorus (in French!) is edited out. There is indeed an alternate version of "Autumn Leaves" recorded 9sep57 available, but it is available on the CD Duke Ellington & His Great Vocalists (Columbia CK 66372).

Finally there is yet another mono take of "Mood Indigo" available on LP (CBS 88653 side 2, track 6), but I haven't been able to track this one down yet.