Sunday, April 8, 2007

Mood Indigo - Coral Records

Mood Indigo

1966 Coral Records CRL 757484 Stereo / CRL 57484 Mono

Side One
1. MOOD INDIGO - Clarinet Solo With Orchestra
2. WASHBOARD BLUES -Clarinet Solo With Instrumental Accompaniment
3. YOU'RE NOBODY 'TIL SOMEBODY LOVES YOU - Clarinet Solo With Orchestra And Chorus
4. SORRENTO BLUES - Clarinet Solo With Instrumental Accompaniment
5. MISS LUCY - Clarinet Solo With Orchestra
6. DIPPER MOUTH BLUES - Clarinet Solo With Instrumental Accompaniment

Side Two
1. Themes From George Gershwin's RHAPSODY IN BLUE - Clarinet Solo With Orchestra
2. YOUR CHEATIN' HEART - Clarinet Solo With Chorus And Orchestra
3. BLUESETTE - Clarinet Solo With Instrumental Accompaniment
4. FA SO LA BLUES - Clarinet Solo With Orchestra
5. BLUE DANUBE BLUES - Clarinet Solo With Instrumental Accompaniment
6. LOVELESS LOVE - Clarinet Solo With Instrumental Accompaniment

Liner Notes:


Exquisitely tired and four-in-the-morning..." That was how an English composer, the late Constant Lambert, once described "Mood Indigo." An inspired title when the number was written in 1930, it was also a euphemism that denoted some-thing a little more sophisticated than a blue mood or a natural twelve-bar blues. Yet the content was basically blue, as Lambert perceived, and as Duke Ellington and Barney Bigard, its composers, intended.

Like Pete Fountain, Bigard was a native of New Orleans and a clarinetist, so a bond exists between co-composer and performer in this instance. More-over, Duke Ellington was responsible for diverting Bud Dant, Pete's musical director, from a career as a teacher to that of professional musician.

Bud's familiarity with Ellington's own interpretation of Mood Indigo is evident enough in this attractively arranged version, where the cellos play the low obbligato and the violins the high harmony of the original muted trumpet. The result is a haunting background for Pete's nostalgic statements, the small concert orchestra used also including violas, trombones, French horns and a rhythm section consisting of Stan Wrightsman (piano), Bobby Gibbons (guitar), Morty Corb (bass) and Jack Sperling (drums).

An indigo mood established, Pete turns to Hoagy Carmichael's famous Washboard Blues, a number which served, incidentally, as the theme of the Bud Dant Collegians in the long, long ago. Here the accompaniment is by a small group similar in instrumentation to that with which he usually works, whereas You're Nobody 'Til Somebody Loves You returns him to the "Nashville sound" and the voices that proved so effective on his best-selling "Licorice Stick" album. The song isn't a blues, but it has a "down" connotation, and Pete gives it a bluesy feeling. The source of Sorrento Blues isfairly obvious from the title, but this small-group performance moves at an attractive 12/8 gait, with Bobby Gibbons and Jack Sperling providing an admirable foundation for the clarinetist. Miss Lucy was originally a part of "Crescent City Suite" and very popular in New Orleans. Its composer, Paul Weston, calls it "The Stephen Foster Blues", but although built on the twelve-bar blues structure, it proves an excellent vehicle for the orchestra's strings as well as the soloist. Completing Side I is another number by a New Orleans musician, King Oliver, whose famous Dipper Mouth Blues comes complete with the enthusiastic and now-traditional cry of "Oh, play that thing!"

The prominence given the clarinet in themes from George Gershwin's Rhapsody In Blue was always a tribute to the instrument's role in jazz, and Pete Fountain understandably wanted to record his own interpretation. Here his playing is dove-tailed with the orchestra's in a condensation to which Morty Corb contributes an emphatic bass part.

Your Cheatin' Heart, the Hank Williams hit, is appropriately assigned to Nashville again, while the discreet elegance of a small string section sets Toots Thielemans' Bluesette off to advantage. Fa So La Blues is an original which refers, via a punning title, to an idol of Pete's, the late Irving Fazola, a New Orleans clarinet player whose tone and style exerted a wide and beneficial influence in jazz. The orchestra's trombones and French horns sound a sombre, sorrowing note in Bud Dant's excellent arrangement. Both Blue Danube Blues and Loveless Love are played with the small group, which permits Pete to express himself freely and warmly on much-loved territory.

Though the prevailing mood be indigo, Mr. Stick Man proves once more in this collection that there are many shades of blue!


Pete Fountain plays a Leblanc clarinet exclusively!

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