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Mingus Ah Um - 50th Anniversary Legacy Edition
Mingus Ah Um - 50th Anniversary Legacy Edition
Price: £17.90

5.0 out of 5 stars It's Mingus - you know it's gonna be good., 19 April 2012
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Great Mingus album, generally considered a jazz classic. I don't think this is as good as some of his other albums, but it is a fairly essential one, and is almost certainly the Mingus album which a Mingus beginner or a more casual jazz fan would find the least intimidating. There is a lighter, more accessible quality to this material than the large majority of his other stuff.

The main album itself is brilliant from beginning to end. The bonus tracks aren't as great, but I never let that affect my judgement of the album itself.

This edition of Ah Um also includes a complete other album, Mingus Dynasty, which, to be honest, I still haven't gotten around to (I take my time with some things). But hey, it's Mingus, it can't be bad.

The Complete On The Corner Sessions
The Complete On The Corner Sessions

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Occasionally ambient fusion funk jams, 19 April 2012
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That is how I'd describe, in few words, the playing of Miles and his various revolving compadres during this period, which is 1972-75.

In case it needs to be said, The Complete On the Corner Sessions isn't just outtakes from the making of On the Corner. These boxsets of Miles' fusion albums were just a means of collecting and releasing all of the studio material Miles put out between 1968 and 1975 in chronological order. Putting it all into one release would have been ridiculous, so the music is broken into four rough periods, each corresponding to some degree to one of the major original fusion studio albums. As much as the titles are totally false then, there is some logic to the four periods for the most part.

The period of this release (about four years) is by far the longest of the four boxsets, but in fact there is a remarkable unity to all the music on here, probably the greatest of all the four.

So, what can you expect to hear?

After Jack Johnson, Miles lost his interest in creating a jazz-rock band and turned to funk. His sound instantly became quite different (as it did for each of his major fusion studio albums, really). He became much less concerned with composition and song-writing in a traditional sense, of the pieces being mapped out and having a structure. These pieces are mostly loose jams, often very repetitive - as some people might put it, lacking focus and not really going anywhere. The songs became more than ever just frameworks to house a mood or vibe, for the musicians to chill or go nuts, soloing as they did, and see what came out. The drumming is mostly simplistic, just a great beat which drives the song, rarely something very inventive and searching. In fact, the music on here was an influence on drum and bass. It's rarely particularly hard-edged, sometimes getting very brooding and spaced out, so some of this was also a precursor to ambient music.

A lot of this might not sound like very positive remarks, and if it doesn't sound like your cup of tea, you may want to look elsewhere, but to my ears, it totally works. Miles' music wasn't really jazz anymore at this point, but it was still very jazzy, and it was still brilliant and revolutionary, in any case. There is the occasional track I don't care for, but this is a stunning collection overall, and possibly the most consistently great of the four fusion collections, which is saying a lot, because there's a LOT of material here.

I will say though, if you haven't heard On the Corner itself, I'd probably suggest checking that out first, and/or giving a few tracks from that or Get Up With It a listen on youtube or grooveshark, to get some more idea of what you're in for. Like all of the boxsets though, I found this hugely rewarding, and there's a lot of excellent music you can't find anywhere but on this release.

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