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An absolute stonker,
This review is from: Blues & Roots (Audio CD)
With hindsight it seems bizarre that prior to this album Mingus was accused by critics of not swinging enough. When I think of Mingus now I think of his main strength: taking quite complex ideas and making them seem simple with bands that swing like crazy.
Mingus takes as his starting point blues (Moanin), gospel (the 6/8 time Wednesday night prayer meeting) and New Orleans jazz (the Jelly Roll Morton tribute - My Jelly Roll Soul) but builds them into something a bit more complex. An extended group is used that adds depth to the music and the New Orleans style is utilised with multiple lines being played and the back-up players responding to soloists. Overall though it is the loose yet structured, swinging and raucous feel to the music that draws you in.
Mingus would use the same ideas again on numerous albums after this but here the ideas sound fresh and inspired and there are not really any weak tracks on the album. This album was a superb response to the critics and remains one of his best albums.