on 5 July 2007
Another very welcome addition to Mingus' 1964 music, written for a European tour which went ahead for the most part without trumpeter Johnny Coles who took ill.The 1964 music is amongst the very best composed by Mingus(music containing elements of all eras in the idiom) and this cd offers a chance to hear the music as it was intended (with Coles' trumpet) in a concert which premiers the material at Cornell University a few weeks before the tour.The Great Concert cd, I think, is the best available recording from this tour(it features extended bop masterpiece Parkeriana, sadly not performed at Cornell), but this is a great companion to that disc.
on 16 November 2009
It's a brilliant find; an early, previously practically forgotten outing of a classic Mingus bend (if you believe Gary Giddins who wrote the lovely liner notes)...
And it's a great band, playing beautifully.... It is probably not better than the famous Paris concert, it's true that "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling" is a bit bellow the band's highs,
and there might be a few meandering moments in some of the longer tracks...
But, essentially, this is a Mingus festival, with Eric Dolphy, Cliford Jordan,Johnny Coles (one of Gil Evans' favorite trumpeters, they say...), Jaki Byard, Dannie Richmond... Each and every one of them capable of hot solos and brilliant interplay (and, yes, they prove it on these two CDs in abundance). Have you noticed how easily Mingus makes a quintet or a sextet sound as rich as an entire big band? Of course, he uses great players, but Mingus is one and only, one of the most inspiring band-leaders in jazz history. And, let's not forget, he's a brilliant bass player as well - you can hear him solo and working jubilantly with others.
This is essential for all the Mingus fans,
but all jazz fans will probably LOVE this.
This brilliant double CD of a concert at Cornell University in 1964 is a genuine treasure. Apparently the existence of both the recording, or even the concert itself, was unknown until a chance discovery of the recording tapes. This turned out to be the first of the series of concerts (mostly recorded and released elsewhere) with a new sextet. Not all the musicians were "new to Mingus" but the combination was new. Jaki Byard (p), Eric Dolphy (f, alto, bass clarinet), Dannie Richmond (d) had all played with Mingus earlier. Only Johnny Coles (t) and Clifford Jordan (tenor) were new. They had a residency at the Five Spot where the band could gel.
Charles Mingus was obviously very happy with the band and the programme, and this is evident. This, I think, is the most relaxed I have heard Mingus and his musicians. This doesn't mean that the music is trivial; it is a full of passion but somehow an air of confidence pervades from the opening solo performance by Byard of "ATFW You" (in the style of Art Tatum and Fats Waller) and Mingus's solo "Sophisticated Lady" through to the "jitterbug Waltz" a couple of hours later. Everyone plays well, but I think Jaki Byard actually takes the honours!
Is this the very best Mingus album of all time?