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Mingus Ah Um - 50th Anniversary Legacy Edition Enhanced

4.4 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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AH UM - 50th Anniversary (Legacy Edition)
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Product details

  • Audio CD (25 May 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Enhanced
  • Label: Sony Music Jazz
  • ASIN: B001W63DZ0
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 172,736 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product description

Product Description

Mingus Ah Um, with its immediate accessibility and brilliantly sculpted individual tunes is a stunning summation of the bassist's talents. Mingus' compositions and arrangements were always extremely focused and that approach reaches an ultra-tight zenith on Mingus Ah Um. The razor-sharp performances on the album tie together what may well be Mingus' greatest, most emotionally varied set of compositions. At least three became instant classics, starting with the spiritual exuberance of signature tune "Better Git It in Yo' Soul," punctuated by joyous gospel shouts. "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat" is a slow, graceful elegy for Lester Young, who died not long before the sessions. "Boogie Stop Shuffle" is bursting with aggressive swing, and elsewhere there are tributes to Mingus' three most revered influences: "Open Letter to Duke" is a suite of three tunes; "Bird Calls" is inspired by Charlie Parker ; and "Jelly Roll" is an idiosyncratic yet affectionate nod to jazz's first great composer, Jelly Roll Morton. It simply isn't possible to single out one Mingus album as definitive, but Mingus Ah Um comes the closest. Mingus Ah Um made Charles Mingus an acclaimed leader in modern jazz. Many of the originals here were composed for film and television scores. On some pieces, Mingus refines and reworks territory he’d previously hit upon. “Slop” for example, is another gospel-inflected stormer, similar to “Better Git It In Your Soul.” The bands that Mingus assembled at Columbia’s 30th Street studio in May and November of 1959 consisted of the greatest exponents of his music to date. Featured sidemen include Jimmy Knepper, John Handy, Booker Ervin, Horace Parlan and Dannie Richmond. There was no stopping this incredible musical mind who’d found his voice as a bassist, composer and bandleader. This package contains Mingus Ah Um and its sequel Mingus Dynasty in their entirety plus four bonus tracks from the sessions and three alternate takes and rare correspondence, and session records. All of the masters were beautifully remixed in 24 bit on a vintage Presto all-tube three-track tape machine.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
For the same sort of price that you would pay for most CDs, here you have over two and a half hours of the best that Jazz has to offer. There is also more content available digitally on the enhanced second CD.

"Ah Um" has long been considered one of the classics of Jazz and every track has become a standard, played countless times by great musicians. But in this 50th anniversary re-issue, we also get the whole of "Mingus Dynasty" which is pretty good in its own right, if not as commercial as "Ah Um". Finally we get many bonus alternate takes and Strollin'/Nostalgia in Times Square - a great track not included on either before.

This album certainly sounds better than previous CD releases and the alternate takes give a huge insight into how the group worked on "Ah Um". Just from listening to the original album, it is difficult to hear where the arrangements stop and the improvisation starts. We know this group were a co-operative and "workshopped" pieces - but from listening to the alternate takes, some familiar parts of the original album are revealed as spur of the moment improvisations that don't get repeated and these are often some of the best moments in certain tracks.

There's nothing more to say about these original albums that hasn't been said in the last 50 years - but this package is still worth buying and gives fresh insight into a band and composer, who was at the forefront of Jazz in the late 1950s. This is how they deserve to be remembered.
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Format: Audio CD
This is the supreme Mingus release.Although I already owned the Ah Um album,this Legacy Edition is packed with so many other goodies it makes this unmissable. I never thoughtthat in my 70s I couldstill get so much enjoyment from music I thought I knew so well. I still havent worked my way through everything on this set. This is not music to be hurried,but to be enjoyed,and I surely am enjoying this.
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Format: Audio CD
...it's still a little naughty for this package to be issued under the original title of just one album. Containing as it does the follow-up album 'Mingus Dynasty' plus outakes and extended versions of the original Mingus Ah Um album this is virtually 'The Complete 1959 CBS Charles Mingus Sessions' 4-LP set under a different name. I can only guess that this rather unsexy title would shift less units in this day and age compared to the hip 'Mingus Ah Um'. Also, it gives the impression of watering down the impact of 'Mingus Dynasty', an album that yields nothing to its predecessor in terms of quality - the only criticism that can be levelled at it is its close resemblance to 'Ah Um' which in the past has given it 'poorer relation' status. Consequentially, it's difficult to justify shelling out for this latest package if you own the 1998 Sony remaster of 'Mingus Dynasty' already.

Marketing quibbles aside, the music is peerless - Mingus showing yet again that he can write and arrange a myriad of styles: blues, hard-bop, scaled-down big-band. It was not for nothing that he was considered to be Ellington's natural successor when composing and arranging for line-ups of all shapes and sizes - whether tight 4-pieces, nonets or orchestra - his invention was endless. The music on these recordings is scored for a band featuring between 7 and 10 members.

1959 was really a banner year for Mingus as the fine non-CBS albums 'Blues & Roots' and 'Wonderland' (aka 'Jazz Portraits') were released a few months earlier. Those who buy this may well need those albums also.

Apologies for dropping a star - if there was a way of voting for both the music and the re-release's premise (taking into account the misrepresentation) then it would 5 and 3.

In conclusion, my advice would be to buy this only if it works out cheaper than buying the 'Mingus Ah Um' and 'Mingus Dynasty' 1998 re-issues together.
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Format: Audio CD
For the reviewer who has given this unbelievable LP 1 star, saying the remastering is a catastrophe - then I suggest you check 2 things;

a) your equipment

or

b) your ears.

To say this has bad sound is quite simply ludicrous. It's as beautifully recorded as it is brilliantly played. Not only is "Mingus Ah Um" a good entrance point to Mingus himself, but it's a perfectly good entry point into jazz!!

And aside from everything I've just said, this LP is drenched in soul. I'm not exaggerating or giving it too much credit, it's one of the top 10 jazz LPs ever recorded.

This edition includes the whole of the Mingus Dynasty LP. For all my love of "Ah Um", (like most others) I can't say I share the full on enthusiasm for it's its follow up. It's not bad and it's still recorded perfectly - but it's there are a dozen or so other Mingus LPs I'd recommend before it. As an extra disc though, and aside from all the very strong bonus tracks spread across both discs, the whole package amounts to something both extremely special, and essential.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I was first introduced to Mingus by listening to Blues and Roots over fifty years ago. The then listening experience was such that at long last I decided to purchase the CD. My enjoyment of the music demanded that I listen to more Mingus and the various reviewers recommended Mingus Ah Um. I was not disappointed. Essentially a mainstream listener I regard these two purchases as something of a departure from normal choice. I can only say that in my old age I am very pleased to have been this adventurous. If there is any listener who has a decided preference for big band swing or a small mainstream group this double CD is an introduction to something different and well worth it. Still anxious to explore I purchased Money Jungle in which Mingus and Max Roach provide a great rhythm for Duke Ellington's piano. Recorded in 1962 Mingus was still an inspired performer.

Trottman
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