The song of the day for Monday, November 30, 2015 is “Mood Indigo.”
About This Song
Originally titled “Dreamy Blues,” Ellington wrote this song in 1930, which is based on a theme by Barney Bigard, who is said to have learned it from his New Orleans clarinet teacher, Lorenzo Tio. Ellington wrote the song specifically for “microphone transmission” and it was first played on a 1930 radio broadcast. Audiences loved the song, and so Irving Mills wrote the lyric, changing the name of the song to “Mood Indigo.” The song has been widely recorded by instrumental and vocal artists, including Tony Bennett, Charles Mingus, Ella Fitzgerald, Thelonious Monk, Frank Sinatra, and Nat King Cole.
About This Version
Tony Bennett recorded “Mood Indigo” in 1999 for his tribute album to Duke Ellington, Bennett Sings Ellington: Hot & Cool. It was arranged by Jorge Calandrelli.
“Mood Indigo,” as well as Bennett Sings Ellington: Hot & Cool, is available from iTunes.
You may have noticed that we have been playing a lot of Ellington lately. About six weeks ago, I picked up a book called Meanwhile There Are Letters, the Correspondence of Eudora Welty and Ross Macdonald. I came to the book as a fan of Eudora Welty, whom I had met in the late 1970s when I lived in Jackson, Mississippi. Welty and the mystery writer Ross Macdonald were fans of each other and began exchanging letters in 1970 until Macdonald’s death from complications of Alzheimer’s Disease. In writing these letters, Welty and Macdonald fell in love, though because Macdonald was married and because Welty was a lady, that love remained in their letters. As I said, I entered the book as a fan of Welty and along the way became a fan of Ross Macdonald. Ross loved jazz, as did Eudora, and he especially loved Duke Ellington’s music. And so I’m in a Duke Ellington kind of mood.
If any of you are interested in Ross Macdonald, I’ve started a website on him and his novels at seekingrossmacdonald.com. It’s not nearly complete, but you might find it interesting.
Oh, and a news flash: the 4th Annual Twelve Days of a Tony Bennett Christmas will start on December 14.