7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
An accomplished and exciting session from a jazz genius.,
This review is from: Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus (Audio CD)
"Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus" was released in 1963 as a kind of artist's own greatest hits. It features some of Mingus' most well-known and acclaimed compositions, reconsidered and reprised by Mingus and one of the finest ensembles he ever led.
The opener "II B.S." is actually "Haitian Love Song", an earlier piece, although this is perhaps the definitive version. It is a superb, rhythmically focused track, which swings relentlessly, featuring an immensely catchy melody line, and some classic ensemble harmonies. Mingus himself is in powerful form. Mingus' take on the Ellington classic "Mood Indigo" comes close to perfection, with regular pianist Jaki Byard and Mingus himself working as a wonderfully cohesive unit - the melody is phrased exquisitely on bass, and Walter Perkins contributes some excellent brush-work. "Better Get Hit In Yo' Soul" is taken considerably up-tempo from the better known recording on "Mingus Ah Um", and the group handles it flawlessly, although the alternative ending is not to my personal taste. "Theme for Lester Young" is better known as "Goodbye, Pork Pie Hat", and this is as fine a performance of the slow, graceful elegy as Mingus ever produced. "Freedom" is an overtly political piece, and may seem out of place to some listeners.
This album does not quite fall into the Mingus top bracket, mainly because of the lack of new material, but is a brilliant session, featuring some interesting takes on his own favourites of the time. The band assembled here is a tremendously tallented and experienced one, and familiar with the material, they produce a stunning performance - seldom matched in any session. "The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady", "Mingus Ah Um", "Pithecanthropus Erectus" and "Tijuana Moods" are perhaps all more significant albums, but this is a great release, and a good place to start listening to this jazz giant.