It was probably Mingus' best group featuring Eric Dolphy (alto saxophone and bass clarinet), Booker Ervin (tenor saxophone), Ted Curson (trumpet), long-serving Dannie Richmond (drums) and the leader himself on bass who recorded this live festival gig in the summer of 1960.
The performance is bookended by extended rollicking gospel-tinged workouts of two of Mingus' greatest 'hits', "Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting" and "Better Git Hit in Your Soul". Along the way, Booker Ervin really takes it to church on a passionate reading of the mighty "Prayer for Passive Resistance" which is sold as a rock and the highlight for this listener ; while Dolphy (on bass clarinet) and Mingus himself get the most out of the musical question, "What Love?". Curson and Richmond's contributions are also a joy throughout the proceedings and special guest artist Bud Powell joins the band on piano for "I'll Remember April".
What we have here is a fine, spirited and jumping live recording. The CD version is good value for money as when this was originally issued on vinyl it was a two-record set and, it also stands up well as a fair introduction to the work of Charles Mingus. It will make you eager to search out more from this important composer and musician who, like Thelonious Monk, always commanded the employ of top and imaginative soloists.
Mingus, yeah! Better get THIS in your soul !