Charles Mingus. Double bass player. Composer. Vocalist. All round freeform jazz guru. Famous for pushing the boundaries of experimental jazz and encouraging others to follow, he is a major figure in the music of the twentieth century. Of especial interest is his pioneering of the use of dissonance to make great sounding music- a seeming contradiction, but it all works out very nicely.
This 1956 recording, more properly attributed to the Charles Mingus jazz workshop, is a masterpiece of the genre. With only 4 tracks and a runtime of only 35 minutes, it's a little short, but not a moment is wasted and the record is jam packed with music of the highest order.
We are treated to three Mingus originals, Pithecanthropus Erctus, Profile OF Jackie and Love Chant, and a cover of the Gershwin's Foggy Day. The originals are just that - original. Bursting with complex rhythms, new musical ideas and interesting juxtapositions, these sound as fresh and interesting today as they did 50 years ago. The revelation is Foggy Day, taking the familiar tune as its basis a great panoramic vision has been built around it. Close your eyes and you can almost picture yourself strolling down a fog bound Embankment.
It's not all incomprehensible high falutin' impenetrable jazz though, it's a very listenable set that will probably appeal to more than just the esoteric jazz fan.
This edition is pretty good, the sound is nice and clear and well mixed. There is an interesting booklet with the original liner notes and a good essay. This is turning out to be an excellent set of releases from Atlantic.
Highly recommended record. 5 Stars.