It is hard for me to grade the albums of the great Charles Mingus - so many of them are perfect or near perfection and this is a fine example, indeed!
I don't find it in any way lesser achievement than "Mingus Ah Um", and the only fault I can find in this collection of newly polished and restored gems is the additional number "Strollin'" (vocals in Mingus' work are often...Ah...Um...Sloppy).
I lack the words to describe the genius of this true Ellington of modern jazz and it is very hard to me to pick favorite songs - beautiful "Diane" or "Far Wells, Mills Valley", glorious "Gunslinging Bird" or brilliant versions of Ellington's numbers ("Mood Indigo", "Things Ain't what they used to be"...)...
Two great ensembles Mingus plays with on this illustrious cd consist of:
A - Richard Williams (tp), Jimmy Knepper (tb), John Handy (as), Booker Ervin, Benny Golson (ts), Jerome Richardson (bs), Teddy Charles (vb), Roland Hanna (p), Dannie Richmond (dm); with Honey Gordon (vo) on "Strollin'" and Nico Bunink instead of Hanna on "New Now Know How" and "Strollin'".
B - Don Ellis (tp), J. Knepper (tb), J. Handy (as), B. Ervin (ts), R. Hanna (p), D. Richmond (dm); with Maurice Brown and Seymour Barab playin cello on "Slop" and "Put Me in That Dungeon"