on 14 September 2005
"Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus" was released in 1963 as a kind of artist's own greatest hits. It features some of Mingus' most well-known and acclaimed compositions, reconsidered and reprised by Mingus and one of the finest ensembles he ever led.
The opener "II B.S." is actually "Haitian Love Song", an earlier piece, although this is perhaps the definitive version. It is a superb, rhythmically focused track, which swings relentlessly, featuring an immensely catchy melody line, and some classic ensemble harmonies. Mingus himself is in powerful form. Mingus' take on the Ellington classic "Mood Indigo" comes close to perfection, with regular pianist Jaki Byard and Mingus himself working as a wonderfully cohesive unit - the melody is phrased exquisitely on bass, and Walter Perkins contributes some excellent brush-work. "Better Get Hit In Yo' Soul" is taken considerably up-tempo from the better known recording on "Mingus Ah Um", and the group handles it flawlessly, although the alternative ending is not to my personal taste. "Theme for Lester Young" is better known as "Goodbye, Pork Pie Hat", and this is as fine a performance of the slow, graceful elegy as Mingus ever produced. "Freedom" is an overtly political piece, and may seem out of place to some listeners.
This album does not quite fall into the Mingus top bracket, mainly because of the lack of new material, but is a brilliant session, featuring some interesting takes on his own favourites of the time. The band assembled here is a tremendously tallented and experienced one, and familiar with the material, they produce a stunning performance - seldom matched in any session. "The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady", "Mingus Ah Um", "Pithecanthropus Erectus" and "Tijuana Moods" are perhaps all more significant albums, but this is a great release, and a good place to start listening to this jazz giant.
on 4 September 2003
Tremendously exciting CD. First bought it on vinyl in the seventies, and it still sounds amazing. You will be hooked from the opening track. Other highlights include Mingus' virtuoso bass-playing on Ellington's 'Mood Indigo', and 'Theme For Lester Young', a very moving version of his 'Goodbye Pork Pie Hat', reportedly composed on stage as he heard of the death of a fellow genius. Best of all is 'Better Get Hit In Yo' Soul'. A tune he recycled many times, but this is my favourite version: a true tour-de-force by a magnificent line-up. This track is a life affirming celebration of all that is good in jazz. And just when you think it's all over, it kicks off again in a New Orleans stylee. Highly recommended. You don't know if you like jazz? Buy this. You will!
on 10 April 2001
I love Mingus, and this album is one of the main reasons why.
It's highly accessible. It's fun. It's got deep blues and deep soul. You can dance to this. It's got great orginal songs. It has a heart-melting standard.
I highly recommend this as an introduction to Mingus, along with "Ah Um".
There's also an 8th bonus track "Freedom"
Known as one of Jazz's most experimentalist voices, especially with his forays into dissonance, bass player extraordinaire Charles Mingus is one of the most unique musical voices of the 20th Century.
In this exciting album he uses his position as bass player to provide an anchoring point for the rest of the talented musicians, setting down a rhythm that allows each member to jump off and deliver thoughtful solos that fit the mood of the piece perfectly. He is both the anchor and the catalyst, providing the inspiration for the rest of the band to go off and do their thing. And he's no slouch in the solos department himself, laying down some intriguing beats. It is the intelligence of the album that is breathtaking, as always Mingus paints musical pictures so vivid you can almost see them. In the aching, yet swinging rendition of Ellington's `Mood Indigo' there is a loneliness that pierces the heart, but in the jumping `Better Get Hit In Yo Soul', you can see joy of religion and the companionship it brings. The sense of loss in the `Theme For Lester Young' is palpable, but so is the thankfulness for the great legacy Lester left behind. The mood is generally up tempo with an air of barely held in excitement. An album that swings and pushes the boundaries, it is good for the soul.
This is a decent release of a classic record. The sound is pretty clear on my stereo and sounds nicely and sympathetically remastered. Each musician is given a distinct voice, and the contribution of Mingus, as the anchor that holds the whole album together comes through beautifully. There is a booklet which reproduces the original sleeve notes (written in a time when sleeve notes themselves were considered an art form!) and gives session and personnel details. There is a bonus track, Freedom, which really adds to the album. With its slavery theme, plantation sound and intriguing vocal which breaks into a joyous swinging rhythm, it's a real gem full of texture and imagery. It seems to chart the development of Black American music in one number. An excellent release for this classic album.
on 8 August 2003
This is a great album if you're into Mingus' music.
It's also a great album if you're not, but would like to be. Mingus x5 contains not only good
bass playing; here you also get to know Mingus the composer and Mingus the arranger very well.
The album is very organized (not boring though), everything makes perfect sence.
It contains a couple of new tunes and some re-recordings, like "Theme For Lester Young", which is
a new recording of "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat" (the original is too much a classic not to prefer).
Also re-recorded is the Ellington- (And "Ah Um"-) classic "Mood Indigo".
On "Hora Decabitus", Eric Dolphy (who plays on several tracks) plays a very nice solo. Down-to-earth...but Dolphy Style.
Mingus recorded, from what I understand, only three albums on impulse! and this is one of them, but they're all worth listening to. The first one is called "Mingus plays piano"; the title speaks for itself. It's an album where Mingus, alone, improvices on piano. The second one, "Black Saint And The Sinner Lady", has a very
big band on it (compared to his earlier bands) and unusual but beautiful arrangements...Mingus style.
The album "Mingus x5" is Mingus in a nut-shell. It features almoast every Mingus element (even singing on the bonus track "Freedom"), but I'll only give it 4 stars, because of all Mingus albums I've heard (which is about 25), "Mingus Ah Um" is the only one standing out enough, more than others, to get
"full points" (and perhaps "Black Saint & the Sinner Lady", but on a whole other level).
Don't miss your chance on good music!
For anyone who is a fan of Mingus’ masterpieces 1959’s Mingus Ah Um and the 1963 'orchestral ensemble’ piece The Black Saint And The Sinner Lady, Five Mingus (as it is known), which was part-recorded at the Black Saint session, should prove to be irresistible since, not only does Mingus utilise much of the superlative ‘big band’ on Black Saint, but the album also provides an intoxicating mix of the hard bebop and grand 'Ellington-like’ sweep of the two earlier recordings. Five Mingus is also often regarded as something of a 'greatest hits’ collection, since, in addition to the cover of Duke Ellington’s Mood Indigo, the remaining seven tunes are essentially variations on earlier Mingus compositions (including Better Git It In Your Soul and Goodbye Pork Pie Hat from Mingus Ah Um), in many cases (arguably) surpassing the originals.
Thus, with the Mingus Ah Um material, plus the Ellington-inspired sounds of I X Love, which draws on the earlier Mingus composition Nouroog, and the Mood Indigo cover (on which Mingus himself provides a stunning solo), the album really can’t go wrong. However, for me, it is the perhaps lesser known tunes II B.S. (a revamping of the earlier Haitian Fight Song) and Hora Decubitus (based on E’s Flat Ah’s Flat Too) where this 11-piece band really being to show their mettle with some intoxicating ensemble playing and on which the likes of Booker Ervin’s tenor sax, Eric Dolphy’s alto sax (a band addition to the Black Saint session) and Richard Williams’ trumpet excel in foot stompin’ fashion. And, as something of a curiosity, Mingus himself provides a passionate gospel-like conclusion to the recording with his narration on Freedom (from Mingus’ 'lost epic’ Epitaph).
The great bassist/composer/bandleader Charles Mingus(1922-79) reinterpreted some of his old compositions for this potent album recorded in 1963 with two 11-piece bands.
'I X Love'(an updating of 'Duke's Choice') and 'Celia'(from Mingus's overlooked 1957 album 'East Coasting') were recorded in New York on January 20, 1963. It was the session that produced his masterpiece album 'The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady' with Mingus(bass & piano); Rolf Ericson, Richard Williams(trumpets); Quentin Jackson(trombone); Don Butterfield(tuba); Jerome Richardson(soprano sax, baritone sax, flute); Dick Hafer(tenor sax, flute, oboe); Charlie Mariano(alto sax); Jaki Byard(piano); Jay Berliner(guitar) & Dannie Richmond(drums).
The remaining tracks, recorded in New York on September 20, 1963, are 'II B.S.'(aka 'Haitian Fight Song'), 'Theme For Lester Young'(aka 'Goodbye Pork Pie Hat'), 'Hora Decubitus'(aka 'E's Flat, Ah's Flat Too'), 'Better Get Hit in Yo' Soul', Duke Ellington's 'Mood Indigo' and a bonus track not on the original LP, 'Freedom' which has a powerful narration from Mingus.
With Mingus(bass & narration) were Eddie Preston, Richard Williams(trumpets); Britt Woodman(trombone); Don Butterfield(tuba); Jerome Richardson(soprano sax, baritone sax, flute); Dick Hafer(tenor sax, clarinet, flute); Booker Ervin(tenor sax); Eric Dolphy(alto sax, flute); Jaki Byard(piano) & Walter Perkins(drums).
'Mingus x 5' contains some tremendous solos and this uncommonly fiery and passionate music still sounds wonderful over 50 years later.
Recorded in 1963 this album contains a number of reworked tracks. For example the opening track "II B S" is a reworking of "Haitian Fight Song" anf "Theme for Lester Young" is "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat". Every track is a winner featuring the best of his colleagues driven along by the enthusiasm of the leader. Mingus was possibly at his peak around this period and produced a number of outstanding albums. This is as good as any. Recommended.
on 13 January 2008
Mingus is, very rightly, still a revered name in the Jazz world. I also think that a lot of his tunes can happily cross over to the Dance world, or to anyone with an honest, unbiased, interest in music.
Whether it be IIBS, or Better Get Hit in Yo'Soul this album is absolutely essential listening that you will never tire of. The arrangement genius of Mr Mingus', only equalled by his brilliance at playing his bass, is in this album at its most potent.
on 6 May 2016
Sublime music from one of the Masters of Jazz.Better get hit in your soul.