This Mingus album was recorded just months after "Mingus Ah Um" in 1959 and has "lived in the shadow" of its predecessor. There are ten tracks featuring some top musicians including: Jimmy Knepper (tmb), John Handy, Booker Ervin, Benny Golson, Jerome Richardson (saxes), Don Ellis (tpt), Roland Hanna (p) , Teddy Charles (vbs) and Dannie Richmond (d) plus, of course, Charles Mingus (b). There are two Ellington tunes, reflecting Mingus's admiration for the master. Roland Hanna, also an Ellington devotee, plays some wonderfully Ellingtonesque piano. Otherwise the tunes are by Mingus and include "Slop" and "Gunslinging Bird". The music may not quite match the standards already set by "Ah Um", but is not far behind. Worth buying.
'Mingus Dynasty' is an unjustly neglected album that was recorded in November, 1959 six months after the great bassist's classic 'Mingus Ah Um'. 6 of the 10 tracks feature a tentet with the remaining 4 by a septet. The collective personnel includes Don Ellis & Richard Williams(trumpets); Jimmy Knepper(trombone); Booker Ervin. John Handy, Benny Golson & Jerome Richardson(reeds); Roland Hanna(piano); Teddy Charles(vibes) & Dannie Richmond(drums). The varied music ranges from fiery gospel-and-blues('Slop' & 'Gunslinging Bird') and Ellington(Duke & Mercer) tributes to more complex pieces such as 'Far Wells, Mill Valley' & 'Diane'. The bonus track 'Strollin''(Nostalgia in Times Square') features a vocal from Honey Gordon. This remastered and expanded edition of 'Mingus Dynasty' makes an excellent companion to 'Mingus Ah Um' and should appeal to anyone who loves passionate and adventurous modern jazz.
Damn I will never tire of listening to most of the tunes on this album. Again the brilliance of the man is obvious in so many track in this album, that this should touch anyone with an interst in good music.
Note that the strong gospel overtones of some of those tracks make them so much more enjoyable or approachable than most Jazz tunes. If you are a starter up at this style, well this is a very good start up pack.
It is hard for me to grade the albums of the great Charles Mingus - so many of them are perfect or near perfection and this is a fine example, indeed! I don't find it in any way lesser achievement than "Mingus Ah Um", and the only fault I can find in this collection of newly polished and restored gems is the additional number "Strollin'" (vocals in Mingus' work are often...Ah...Um...Sloppy).
I lack the words to describe the genius of this true Ellington of modern jazz and it is very hard to me to pick favorite songs - beautiful "Diane" or "Far Wells, Mills Valley", glorious "Gunslinging Bird" or brilliant versions of Ellington's numbers ("Mood Indigo", "Things Ain't what they used to be"...)...
p.s. Two great ensembles Mingus plays with on this illustrious cd consist of:
A - Richard Williams (tp), Jimmy Knepper (tb), John Handy (as), Booker Ervin, Benny Golson (ts), Jerome Richardson (bs), Teddy Charles (vb), Roland Hanna (p), Dannie Richmond (dm); with Honey Gordon (vo) on "Strollin'" and Nico Bunink instead of Hanna on "New Now Know How" and "Strollin'".
B - Don Ellis (tp), J. Knepper (tb), J. Handy (as), B. Ervin (ts), R. Hanna (p), D. Richmond (dm); with Maurice Brown and Seymour Barab playin cello on "Slop" and "Put Me in That Dungeon"