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Indigo 1963

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Indigo!

This very word makes you think about Duke Ellington’s music.

It has been used in some of his song-titles but in 1963, Swedish Television used this word as a title of a telecast from the famous concert venue in Stockholm, Cirkus. It was to be Alice Babs’ first appearance and collaboration with Duke Ellington and his orchestra.

The telecast was the brain-child of program producer Arne Arnbom, one of the creative and innovative producers at Swedish Television at that time.

He had a strong interest in ballet and jazz and had already produced some program merging them together like “Sax Appeal” from 1960 with music by the pianist/composet Nils Lindberg. Arnbom had also produced TV programs for Swedish Television with the Swe-Danes. Arne Arnbom was also a child-hood friend of Alice Babs.

Towards the end of 1962, Arnbom went to New York to present the project to Duke’s organization. He told them that he wanted to have a Swedish singer included in the program and that this singer should be Alice Babs.

To give a sense of her singing to his Ellington counterparts, he presented them with the LP album “Alice & Wonderband”, which Babs had recorded with Arne Domnérus’ orchestra in mid-1959 and which included three Ellington songs – “Prelude To A Kiss among them.

The project and Babs were accepted and the program was recorded on February 7, 1963 following Ellington’s concert at the Stockholm Concert Hall the night before. It was broadcasted on April 6, 1963.

“Indigo” is undoubtedly one of the best telecasts with Ellington and his band. Bringing in Alice Babs to sing and adding ballet performances choreograph by the famous Swedish choreographer Birgit Cullberg makes it very special. Arne Arnbom’s direct and almost ascetic pictorial language contributes also a lot to this.

It is a great pleasure to be able to offer our members to share it by viewing and downloading it its totality in the Goodies Room. A clip from the show can be seen below:

The opening, as well as the concluding theme is Mood Indigo, hence the name of the telecast, Indigo.

Alice Babs takes part in three numbers, Take The ”A” Train, Take Love Easy and Come Sunday and it is obvious that Duke is quite impressed by her performance, a fact that would lead to the famous recording sessions with Duke three weks later in Paris.

In Take The ”A” Train which is partly dedicated to Babs, we also hear a nice solo by Paul Gonsalves. It is reported that Georg Riedel is responsible for arranging vocal part.

The songs played in the program are mostly from Ellington’s concert repertoire at the time and the list of them gives a strong hint of who the solosists are:

Do Nothin’ Till You Hear From Me (Lawrence Brown), The Blues (Milt Grayson), The Eighth Veil (Cat Anderson), Star-Crossed Lovers (Johnny Hodges), Sophisticated Lady (Harry Carney), Honeysuckle Rose (Jimmy Hamilton), Take Love Easy (Alice Babs), Dancers In Love (Duke), I Got It Bad (Johnny Hodges), Guitar Amour (Ray Nance), Tootie For Cootie (guess who), Come Sunday (Alice Babs), Boola (Sam Woodyard).

The Royal Opera ballet dancers Marianne Orlando and Conny Borg perform the Birgit Cullberg choreography to the music of Star-Crossed Lovers (Romeo and Juliette) and Willy Sandberg and members of the Royal Opera Ballett the one to Boola.

There are quite some familiar and prominent jazz and Ellington fans in the audience, e.g. Leif Anderson, Olle Helander, Putte Wickman and others.

Be sure to enjoy this video!


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