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Absolutely essential Mingus!
on 10 February 2001
If anyone has ever wondered, as I once did, where that cool music from the advert for Tetley's beer comes from (the one with the guy on the beach whose dog comes out of the sea and causes the crowd to part like the scene from "Jaws") then look no further than track 3, titled "Moanin'"! What's more, the orignal version featured on this album is far, far superior.
This album was released several months after Mingus' blistering "Mingus Ah Um" although it was actually recorded before it. For anyone who already owns a copy of Ah Um, two of the tunes will be very familiar, namely "Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting" and "My Jelly Roll Soul" as they turned up in reworked form as "Better Git It In Your Soul" and "Jelly Roll" respectively. Despite this "Blues & Roots" is still a worthy purchase (even just for "Moanin' which, with its catchy theme stated on baritone saxophone, is, to my mind the star track on this disc). "Tensions" is another fine track - just listen to the way the solo bass reacts against the chords of the piano. "E's Flat, Ah's Flat Too" is another tune with a baritone line that you'll be humming for some time afterwards. There's some fine soloing from all three sax players: Booker Ervin (tenor), Shafi Hadi (aka Curtis Porter)(alto) and Pepper Adams (baritone). This is an intense and firery record which will probably take up a semi-permanent residence in your cd-player!
As with other Mingus albums recorded for Atlantic this has been recxently remastered to a very high standard and handsomely repackaged with a mock record sleeve featuring the original artwork and the original liner notes by notable Mingus commentator, Nat Hentoff who, on this release, adds yet another insightful look into Mingus the man and Mingus the musician.
For anyone who's heard Mingus' name and has been wondering what all the fuss is about, I urge you to invest in this disc - you'll find out, and you'll be glad you did!