Most helpful positive review
50 of 51 people found the following review helpful
on 25 July 2004
In a era that produced such original composers as Thelonious Monk and Herbie Nichols , Mingus' approach to composition always seemed more organic and embedded deeper within the roots of jazz than these contemporaries. (Nichols, in particular, had the musical knowledge to look outside of jazz for inspiration.) This is largely compensated by the sheer physical emotion of the music that largely consisted of material based upon the blues. The impact of Mingus is immediate and passionate. On top of this, he was influenced by the music of Duke Ellington and was a great believer in the need for sudden shifts in tempo and mood with which to colour his music. This approach probably reached it's zenith in "Mingus Ah Um" where his group deliever the definative performances of some of his most celebrated tunes.
From the opening gospel inspired number in 6/8 time through to the loving dixieland pastiche dedicated to a certain Mr. Jelly Roll Morton at the end, this is gripping stuff. The music ranges from exciting bebop such as "Boogie Stop Shuffle" through to "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat", a threnody to Lester Young.
This is not only an essential purchase for fans of the bassist, but should be in every jazz collection. The whole performance is driven along by the great Dannie Richmond on drums and the energy he provides merits this purchase alone. A true jazz classic.