Top positive review
8 people found this helpful
on 20 July 2006
This is a very strong and powerful album, Mingus intended it to be a musical description of his turbulent stay in Mexico and it succeeds grandly in evoking the atmosphere. Here Mingus employs trombone, trumpet and alto sax along with the rhythm section. It's a very effective blend with the trombone rumbling along with the bass; drums and piano pushing everything along; and trumpet and alto floating though it all.
Dizzy Moods is meant to represent the drive to Mexico and all its expectations. Being a variation on Dizzy Gillespie's Woody n You it is good preparation for the wildness to follow with its mixture of the familiar and unfamiliar; blues with a twist. Ysabel's Table Dance is a tour de force, the spagetti western meets modern jazz, each instrument has its own distinctive story to tell. Tijuana gift shop serves as a nice interlude before the albums other stone classic, Los Mariachis (the street musicians). Again this is not merely a set of themes and solos, but a story being told with incredible depth and richness. A sweet n sour rendition of Flamingo closes out the original set.
When this album was eventually released in 1962, five years after it had been recorded, Mingus said it was the best record he ever made. I'm very tempted to agree. As for the extra tracks: A Colloquial Dream is interesting but nonessential. The second disc, which is what the album sounded like before edits is a facinating listen, though I think Mingus got the cuts right first time around.
This record is recommended to anyone with a passing interest in Mingus' world, if you've heard Mingus Ah Um and want something more raucous this should be your next stop.