There is no doubting Mingus's genius and position in jazz and musical development. This collection of 10 albums covers his Columbia and RCA output with alternate takes. There are gaps covered by his other recording labels, now easily and cheaply obtainable. Here we have Mingus with monumental recordings. As with reviewing other greats, there is so much that has been written and said.
'MINGUS AH UM': with John Handy(as,cl), Booker Ervin(ts), Dannie Richmond(d) as stalwarts of the 1959 period provided 'Better Get It Into Your Soul', 'Jelly Roll', 'Open Letter to the Duke' and more. The Opener starts with a Mingus bass solo followed by by Jimmy Knepper's plaintive trombone. The preaching alto of Hadi(as) and Ervin's gospel replies are passionately charged. The gospel shouts add to a classic track. 'Goodbye Pork Pie Hat' was recorded shortly after Lester Young's death. Tremendously moving, with Handy's solo appropriately movingly slow. 'Bird Calls' takes off at contrasting bebop pace. The rest is equally majestic.
'MINGUS DYNASTY': More sublime band interplay. Jimmy Knepper(tb) with the above reedmen produced 'Things Ain't What They Should Be' and 'Mood Indigo' and 'Gunslinging Bird' (Parker?). Mingus's affection for Ellington ran through his career.'Put me in that Dungeon' was apparently Lester Young's call for a bass solo. Mingus is more prominent on 'Better get it into'.
'TIJUANA MOODS': Another favourite. Original sleeve notes quote Mingus as saying 'This is The Best Record I Ever Made'. 1957: Top-class band (Knepper, Richmond, Clarence Shaw(tp), Shafi Hadi as (Curtis Porter), produced 'Dizzy's Mood', and 'Flamingo' along with an extended (uncut) version of 'Ysabel's Table Dance'. Alternate takes a bonus.
'LET MY CHILDREN HEAR THE MUSIC': This is no less a sheer delight (1972). Appearances by Charles McPherson, Lee Konitz, Gene Ammons had added to Mingus's concerts and recordings with 'Friends In Concert' (1972) and the earlier 'Charles Mingus with Orchestra'. Fellow arrangers Jaki Byard and Toshiynteu Mynaia.
'Epitaph', (1990), does not feature Mingus.
These are historic recordings by a great musician, composer and arranger. His studio output is matched by his live performance. A difficult and exacting figure in jazz history whose contribution is indisputable. Excellent sound. Booklet informative. Original liner notes.
These recordings are highly recommended.
on 30 August 2012
I've had almost all of these for many years, but if you have heard something by Mingus that you like don't hold back - this is a great bargain and a chance to acquire some (not all - Black Saint and the Sinner Lady is on Impulse, and is essential)of the best music by one of the 20th century's greatest outlaw composers and players.
on 19 August 2013
All the usual suspects,plus the remarkable ,somewhat autobiographical, masterpiece Epitaph,never fully realised in Mingus' lifetime. The AMG gave this mere 2 star rating,why I cannot say,because it is GREAT,an all star,magnificent reconstruction of a problematical piece(Mingus gave instructions to band members that were like "play it like you did at such and such...)so Gunther Schuller had to work hard to get it right,and it is so right it just explodes off the discs.Get it for this,get it for the rest,just "Get Hit"(in your soul).