This December, 1974 session features some of the great bassist's finest music from his late period before his health started to fail.
The excellent group which had been together for some time included tenorist George Adams, trumpeter Jack Walrath, pianist Don Pullen and Mingus's long-time drummer Dannie Richmond.
Highlights include the 17-minute 'Sue's Changes' which shifts through various moods and the intensely moving 'Duke Ellington's Sound of Love' written soon after the Duke died earlier that year. George Adams performs some blues shouting on 'Devil Blues' with lyrics from Clarence 'Gatemouth' Brown's 'The Drifter'.
'Changes One' deserves to be in every Mingus collection and should appeal to anyone who loves passionate and adventurous jazz.
on 3 April 2015
One of a pair of albums to come from some sessions at the end of 1974 played by his best later day band on top form playing good original compositions and arrangements of older themes. They are very fine recordings indeed, possibly the last great recordings by a major figure in American music. Essential with outstanding contributions from George Adams and Don Pullen, taking the music quite far out without breaking the frame or spirit of the great mans music. Jack Walrath gets less solo space but makes a little go along way, especially in the unison passages. Live material from this band shows how well he played this music. Mingus's own playing drives the others on often quite subtley and there are flashes of his virtuosity but the emphasis is on a great band playing great music. Magic.
I have been a Mingus fan for well over fifty years since "Charles Mingus presents Charles Mingus" in 1960 which I bought as an American import. However these two discs (Changes 1 and 2) had escaped my attention, so I've recently bought both.
Changes One has just four lengthy tracks. These come from Mingus' late period (1974) and to my ear are the most conventional. Although "original" music in all senses of the word, it doesn't have the apparent vigour of, say, "CMPCM" or "Ah Um" etc. However this music, distinctly Mingus, played by a conventional quintet is challenging and emotional.
With Mingus is George Adams on tenor, Jack Walrath (trumpet), Don Pullen (p) and Dannie Richmond (d). DR played regularly with Mingus for about fifteen years.
Don Pullen plays wonderfully on all four tracks which vary in tempo and style.
The second track "Sue's Changes" lasts 17 minutes and goes through many changes of style and pace. "Devil Blues" is a typical Mingus blues rant, and "Duke Ellington's Sound Of Love" (dedicated to DE who has passed on in May 74) is a beautiful 12 minutes ballad of enormous sensitivity.
Not all of this is immediately digestible, but present day listeners have had fifty years of jazz development to get used to this music. Fifty years ago this would have been literally groundbreaking music!