Customer Review

4.0 out of 5 stars Charles Mingus - the Black Saint and the Sinner Lady and Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus, 26 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Impulse 2-on-1: The Black Saint And The Sinner Lady / Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus (Audio CD)
I echo most of the comments in the previous review. This set is extremely good value, comprising two very good sessions at a low price. One minor gripe is that the sleeve notes consist of copies of the original notes reduced in size to such an extent that the old and failing amongst us can't really read them. So, any comments I may have in this review may be disproved by what is in the sleeve notes but I wouldn't know that.
'The Black Saint' is a major six part work, very highly praised when it first came out, played by an eleven piece band, bigger than Mingus' earlier bands. It is fairly intensively scored, with a thick almost lush sound from the saxophones. It does have some similarity to earlier Mingus works such as 'Mingus Ah Um'. What I find disconcerting is the much closer similarity it has to Ellington. Charlie Mariano, the lead alto, takes the Hodges role and Jerome Richardson, on baritone, is a ringer for Carney. The trombone, strongly featured as an ensemble voice, is Quentin Jackson, a genuine and highly individual Ellington voice. At times the band sounds almost a pastiche. That's not to say it's not good. It is. The band has Mingus' usual driving rhythm and the soloists are all excellent. Mariano, extensively featured, is astonishing, far removed from his normal slightly cerebral style, and Richardson, not always everybody's favourite soloist, is of the highest quality on both soprano and baritone. There is good piano work , presumably mainly from Jaki Byard, though Mingus' own piano work is quite similar, so I may be wrong on that, and some effective trumpet solos, which sound to be mainly from Richard Williams.
'Mingus, Mingus' etc is more what one expects. When this first came out it wasn't particularly highly considered. I disagree. Two tunes, 'I X Love' and 'Celia' are by the same band as the Black Saint' session but the five remaining tunes are by a slightly different band with the notable addition of Eric Dolphy and Booker Ervin. Both solo well in their unique styles and Ervin in particular dominates his tracks. You almost have to buy the disc for him alone. Walter Perkins replaces Dannie Richmond on drums but with absolutely no loss in power or drive. A very fine seesion indeed and well up to the standard of Mingus' earlier work.
So, overall, a slightly mixed bag, but pretty good. It's just that I prefer my Mingus being Mingus.
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