1999 was the year of the Ellington Centennial, and, as such, the Maestro's music was very much in the air. It was also an ideal year in which to reissue Taft Jordan's first-rate, long-deleted tribute to the Duke, Mood Indigo. It's paired with a fine, equally rare set by the Swingville All-Stars, with Jordan on trumpet. An Ellingtonian from 1943 to '47, Jordan renders some choice material by his ex-boss. Long a first-call New York session man, he's as impressive on open horn as with a mute. Here he's surrounded by two empathetic but distinctly different groups: a younger, more boppish quintet that numbers guitarist Kenny Burrell, and a sextet--whose program offers two more tunes from the Ellington band's voluminous book--featuring three other Ducal alumni (the other horns, plus bassist Wendell Marshall). Mood Indigo recalls the manifold gifts of a trumpeter who seldom recorded as a leader.
with Kenny Burrell, Richard Wyands, Joe Benjamin, Charlie Persip, Al Sears, Hilton Jefferson, Don Abney, Wendell Marshall, Gus Johnson