BLUE INDIGO is one of those things in life that you swear is just destiny taking hold.
The band began when George and "Miss Lucy" (as he calls his weathered Hammond B3) stopped by to sit in with the Sunday night trio at Toyko Rose which consisted of Carter Beauford, LeRoi Moore, and myself usually playing a mix of R&B and Jazz standards. From the first moment when George's feet articulated those driving bass lines, it was like holding onto the tailpipe of a Chevy and being dragged around the parking lot. Lightning struck, sparks flew, and what can only be described as nuclear fission took hold. Night after night magic happened... Many was the time Carter and I would play the exact four measure impromptu phrase and turn to each other and laugh. George could seemly become two people, playing in opposing meters and structures, yet always returning to crescendo behind LeRoi's exotic explorations and driving leads. There were glorious nights.
Yet as life would have it, Carter and LeRoi left the band after a year to form a group with Dave Matthews to go on to well deserved fame and fortune, leaving the spark that was started innocently, still glowing.
Later, Blue Indigo began to take shape again, and after various testings and incarnations another union was formed--with the brashness and commitment that lies at the heart of Blue Indigo, but also possessing a decided cleverness and elan, lead by the undauntable spirt of Jeff Decker and the solid support and creativity of Phil Riddle. Again the spark glowed hot and burst into flame.
Jeff is an incredible sprinter, able to articulate quickly the mood and prescence of a song. Yet, he can run the long race with pacing and endurance--he is the Mr. Jones.
Working with the strengths and talents of the rest of the team, Phil is the rock and quiet focused thought that pushes the band higher and higher.
Bule Indigo does not compromise--it is a wonderful combination of drive and daring where the next moment can't be anticipated but is never in doubt.
It has been my distinct honor and pleasure to be a part of this group and I am grateful to them always.
The material recorded here is all original yet somewhat familiar. It is based on my love and understanding of the standard song, mixed with the inevitable musings and experineces of my past. My profound gratitude to the group for adopting these into our repertoire and if you'll pardon my indulgence, I'll share a thought about each.
Wessin' It Even though the title refers to Wes Montgomery, this is my tribute to Joe Pass. Many years ago, I got the sound of Joe playing Cavalerie (on the For Django album) in my ear and it has haunted me since. I moved it to A-flat and did a little Wessin' for the head.
Georges Blues West Coast Melvin meets Count Basie! George stretches out on a shuffle which cycles around to get back home in an interesting way. The band joins in for a shout chorus exchange with Phil and after the last rendition of the easy-going melody, kicks into a Bill Dogget grove with Jeff taking control. The ending chord is classic Melvin.
When WIll You Ever Love Me? This ballad in G-flat takes advantage of the fact that the chromatic harmonies in the song are chords our ears usually hear in other venues. I particularly like the duet with Jeff at the beginning.
Goodbye Lady Rain George's lady, Alfreda, can spot the girl-that-got-away side of me in a second. There's an unsung lyric in the second part of the bridge that goes: "You're the dream-witch of starlight, so tonight, please pass me by…" You get the idea.
Catwalk I have this theory about men... that we're always filming videos in our mind with us staring as the tragic hero--a cross between Cary Grant and Mike Hammer. We keep filming this saga until we realize one day that no one is watching and we don't graded on it in the end. At that moment--we grow up.
This is a tribute to the part of us that keeps filming. The song has all the key elements: the gossamar bewitching girl (played wonderfully on our cover by the fetching Emily Tisdale), the hero (us), and the bad guy (hiss).
After an introduction to the characters and a romantic nightime interlude in the Gothamesque city, we're off on a chase and fight for justice and vindication. Natuarally, we get the girl in the end, but wake suddenly to find it was only a dream… or was it?
That's Why They Call Him Mr. Jones I vividly remember seeing Jeff take chorus after chorus on Have You Met Miss Jones at Miller's one Thursday night. I was amazed how each time through the form he just kept blowing hotter and hotter. This tune is his tour-de-force. In a long paced structure with lots of room to run, he builds his solo thorugh stop time sections to the inevitable well-placed cresencdo. Just when you thought that was it, he's followed by Hod O'brien playing those un-breathable phrases that are his trademark. Master musicians they both are.
On and On I wrote this for the incomparable John D'earth and if you listen in your mind, you can hear his trumpet leading the way. An absolute gentleman and refined musician, Charlottesville is blessed to have this cat and his miss make their nest in our backyard. The song is my interpretation of the various incantations that usually accompany the tilt of John's gray-haired head as the music gets hot at Millers on a summer night. Phil steals the spotlight with his inventive statement at the end as the songs sings on and on...
The Hang is the classic backyard tent meeting with the swaying chorus, the preacher, and of course, the Devil making his attempts to snare the unbelieving. Lots of finger-pointing and hand clapping here. George starts his solo with a churchy “slow walk” and then skips into a romp, handing off to Jeff who is backed by the chorus. I make the occasional appearance as the frustrated coniver, but am quickly rebuffed. Was the end ever in doubt? Thanks to the “ladies” of the Indigo tamborine chorus for their invaluable assistance.
Oreo Con Brio I wrote this one for Tony Heath. I really liked the sound of Tony's soprano and found it intriguing that such a smooth tone came out of Tony's contortions--he really works for each note. Latin-based, I guess, it's just a neat tune and Jeff tears it up, passing the baton to Phil who solos effortlessly over the repeating background phrase.
Blues for Lois I was working at roadhouse bar in the Poconos when I heard Lois Brownsy sing. I immediately went upstairs to my room and penned this edge-city Blues for her enthralling personna. It took five years to earn the inspiration for the bridge, but the song is actually about two women--neither of them Lois.
The success of any project is dependent upon the tireless efforts of those "behind the scenes," or in this case those at the mixing board. Gary Major of Major Studios graciously shared more than technical expertise--he became another voice in the mix, adding key insights at just the right time. We thank him and Major Studios for their work.
Not enough can be said in this short space to thank Greg Howard for carrying a tired producer and group through the mix and mastering process. Greg's talents are staggering and cover the gamut. We were extrememly fortunate to have him work us into to a schedule that can only be called "demanding." Thank you brother. -- Sal Soghoian
Produced by: Sal Soghoian and Blue Indigo
Recorded at: Major Studios, Waynesboro, VA
Mixing: Greg Howard, Gary Major, Sal Soghoian
Masertering: Greg Howard, David Glasser at Airshow Studios, Springfield, VA
Special Guest: Hod O'brien
All Songs © 1996 Nyhthawk Productions