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Live in Rotterdam 1970
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Now in my dotage, I came across this CD of a concert in Rotterdam taken from an FM radio broadcast. Excellent sound, exciting performances. The tracks:
1. Orange Was The Colour Of Her Dress
2. Reincarnation Of A Lovebird
3. The Man Who Never Sleeps
5. The Clown
"The Clown" is a bonus track, a tribute to Mingus by the Duke Ellington Orchestra. Since I can't insert a link to the Duke Ellington Music Society, I'll copy some of their explanation of this track:
"This event took place at Zellerbach Auditorium, University of California, Berkely, CA. on the night of 29 September 1969. The Ellington concert at the University of California came as the high point of a two-day celebration of Ellington's music. It had started the day before, with lectures by Stanley Dance, Gunther Schuller, and John Lewis, among others, and a concert by the Charles Mingus group. Ellington's female vocalist on this occasion was Kathy Myers, who had joined just eight days earlier. She was gone before the next tour. Victor Gaskin joined permanently as bassist at this point, playing alongside Paul Kondziela." (Thanks, David Palmquist.)
"There was Duke's on-stage announcement (when, according to Sue Mingus as quoted in my book - I think - Mingus had become suddenly shy about the idea of his piece being performed by his hero and was hiding up in the balcony, to avoid being called to go on stage." ( Thanks, Brian Priestley, now I have to buy another of your books!)
"The arrangement of The Clown may have been written by Jaki Byard. As I recall Sue telling me, the details/expenses were taken care of by Ellington's "office". Evidently, Hodges - or was it Cootie - refused to play the piece. Can they be heard on the recording?" (Thanks, Andrew for pointing this out)
"--an event that brought Charles back into music after he'd retired. There's quite a story connected to that performance. Don't know who made the tape, but I think it's on file at the Library of Congress-- it seems to me someone once gave me a copy." (Sue Mingus)
I also received an audio clip of an interview with Mingus explaining some of the reasons for his absence; he wasn't sure Duke would play his stuff, Duke had only two-three trumpets ready. That supports Andrew's statement.
Hodges seems to be absent, Procope is playing lead alto. The trumpet section sounds unusually thin most of the time. Probably Cootie was present, but played only when he felt like it. Not the first time he did so. Sounds like Cat took care of the tricky trumpet parts. One more thing; the audience is starting to laugh when Duke begins his narrative. After they have finished playing and Duke has called out for Mingus, he says: "Take it off". Did Duke put on a clown's mask specially for this?
"Duke was definitely not wearing a mask. Charles was not "shy" as Brian Priestley says. He knew that a lot of Duke's sidemen did not want to play the piece because it was hard -- some of them even turned their backs on Duke -- and Charles was not about to go on stage in that situation. That's what I remember. I didn't know there was an interview."
Anyway, this is really something extraordinary, the music is absolutely fantastic and Duke the storyteller: elegant as always.