on 12 December 2000
This is one of my alltime great albums. Mingus is on top form as composer and bass player and is joined by the miraculous Eric Dolphy as well as Ted Curson and Dannie Richmond. This album was recorded as though it was a live concert with the lights turned low and Mingus making announcements. They were actually in a studio attempting to get a live atmosphere to enhance their performance. It works a treat. There are four tunes. Folk Forms is a rhythmic and bouncy set of patterns and riffs rather than a melody. Mingus and Dolphy really take it out and play some very succesful free jazz. What Love is startling in it's use of time and in the way Mingus and Dolphy seem to be discussing things with their instruments. All The Things You Could Have Been By Now If Sigmund Freud's Wife Had Been Your Mother is another excellent take. For me the top tune is Original Faubus Fables. This is a brilliant attack on segregation and other backward political viewpoints. It also has my favourite solo ever. That is Eric Dolphy's solo on alto sax. This solo says so much in a short time. With the rhythmic elacticity of Charlie Parker and the inventiveness of Ornette Coleman, Dolphy reaches rare heights as he glides over and cuts through the choppy accompaniment. All in all this CD is top. Buy it now.
on 1 November 2004
When I bought this record on vinyl it was a rarity. Now it is available on CD every serious follower of jazz should have a copy. Alongside 'Ah Hum' it rates as the best recording by the wonderful Charles Mingus. Every player is superb, but Eric Dolphy on alto sax and bass clarinet never sounded better. The empathy between these musicians is mesmerising. The 'talking duet' between Mingus & Dolphy is musically hilarious, and Danny Richmond switches the tempo effortlessly as he follows the authorative bass of the leader throughout. The original recording of 'Faubus Fables' is a stunning indictment of Southern racism. Buy this CD.
I bought this on vinyl as an American Import soon after its release. It was my first experience of Mingus or Dolphy. I have many subsequent purchases featuring both men and this remains a treasured album (I now only have it on CD) and might be my very best jazz album, from a pretty substantial collection.
Mingus had recorded The Tales of Faubus earlier, but had been banned from using any vocals. On this album Candid imposed no such restrictions. Here "The Original Faubus Fables" is recorded just as Mingus has intended, as an outrageous, yet politically cutting, song protesting about the behaviour of Governor Faubus of Arkansas concerning the outrage at Little Rock High School where nine teenagers had been shot by State Troopers. This version is truly outrageous and full of feelings of revulsion. The interplay from just four musicians is amazing. Curson (tp) really bends his notes, Dolphy (as) brays, and Mingus and Richmond drive the whole thing along and add the "vocal comments".
This is the highlight track.
Although recorded in a studio, with no audience, Mingus tries to engender a night club atmosphere and talks to the "audience" between numbers.
On the other three outstanding tracks Dolphy is found playing his bass clarinet. (Is Dolphy the only musician who can play jazz on this monster instrument?). And who other than Mingus could come up with a title for a tune : "All The Things You Could Be If Sigmund Freud's Wife Was Your Mother!"
Although recorded more than fifty years ago the power of this music is undiminished. It is an album of protest against racial segregation. It should be on the national curriculum and all young people should hear this and understand why racial separation is abhorrent.
Only awarded four and a half stars by Allmusic, it fully deserves six!
The great bassist/composer/bandleader Charles Mingus(1922-79) recorded this magnificent album in New York on November 19, 1960 with a pianoless quartet featuring Eric Dolphy(alto sax & bass clarinet); Ted Curson(trumpet) & Dannie Richmond(drums).
Although a studio album, Mingus addresses an imaginary audience before each of the four pieces at one point instructing them "not to applause and don't rattle ice in your glasses".
The group had recently been playing at the Showplace, Greenwich Village and display a high level of empathy.
Highlights are the powerful, uncensored 'Original Faubus Fables' which is a political attack on the Arkansas governor and 'What Love' which has an extraordinary bass/bass-clarinet 'conversation' between Mingus & Dolphy.
'Charles Mingus Presents Charles Mingus' is one of his finest albums and deserves a place in any modern jazz collection.