This live date, recorded January 16, 1959 at Nonagon Art Gallery in New York City features John Handy on alto sax, Booker Ervin on tenor sax, Richard Wyands on piano, Dannie Richmond on drums, and Charles Mingus on bass. It's a chance to hear Mingus the bassist and Mingus the leader in action with a small group; the recording quality is excellent.
Of all the titles in the Impulse! 2 on 1 series, this volume may be the very finest. It pairs two indisputable classic Charles Mingus titles – both of which have endured for nearly 50 years – that were cut during the same year. While The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady was recorded on January 20, 1963, the recording that ended up as Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus was begun that very day, but not finished until September. The former album is rightly regarded as one of (if not the) Mingus' masterpieces for its use of colors, tonalities, expansive harmonies, and the juxtaposition of numerous aspects of the jazz tradition – from Ellingtonian swing to hard bop, to West Coast and new-thing jazz – employing a vocal chorus, and even Latin and flamenco flourishes in a single conceptual work played by an 11-piece orchestra.
The first comprehensive documentary of Afro-American jazz bassist, bandleader and composer Charles Mingus. Mingus led a tumultuous life filled with trauma and frustration, joy and creativity. Not light enough to be considered white and not dark enough to fit into the black community, he was an outcast in American society who charted his own path. Likewise, his legacy as a 20th Century composer reaches far beyond conventional jazz idioms. Mingus apprenticed with people like Duke Ellington, Lionel Hampton and Charlie Parker before going out on his own and becoming a musical force for more than a decade. When interest in his music waned at the height of the rock era in the mid-1960s, and one of his closest collaborators Eric Dolphy died, he was institutionalized due to psychological problems. Upon his return to the music scene, he began playing more concerts and his sales zoomed. This golden period of recognition ended when he contracted Lou Gehrig's disease and his music began to deteriorate. He died in 1979.
Recorded in New York in 1957 (though not released until 1962), Tijuana Moods was, according to Mingus himself, "the best album I ever made." The music is a vigorous stew of Mexican rhythms and sophisticated post-Ellington arrangements, further invigorated by the soloing of trumpeter Clarence Shaw, trombonist Jimmy Knepper, and, particularly, saxophonist Shafi Hadi. Mingus's vision of Tijuana was clearly sensual, the music evoking strippers, frenetic street scenes, and heart-broken lovers. Making use of suitelike thematic material and various forms of counterpoint, the group sounds much larger than it is, and points toward Mingus's later experiments with form.
This album is unique in Mingus' enormous catalog. As the title indicates, the famous bassist takes to the ivories solo to give life to his dazzling improvisational art. At first it seems odd to hear Mingus without one of his trademark interactive and exploratory ensembles. But the sensibility that he brings to this collection of piano pieces bears all the signs of the composer's genius…
This recently-discovered release is certainly the jazz find of the year so far in 2007. In much the way that John Coltrane/Thelonious Monk Live at Carnegie Hall and, to some extent, the live Coltrane document One Up, One Down, Cornell 1964 brings a major piece of jazz history into focus in the best way possible–with an actual recording that documents it.
On this LP issued by Columbia, Mingus thanked producer Teo Macero for "his untiring efforts in producing the best album I have ever made." From his deathbed in Mexico in 1979 he sent a message to Sy Johnson (who was responsible for many of the arrangements on the album), saying that Let My Children Hear Music was the record he liked most from his career. Although Mingus' small-group recordings are the ones most often cited as his premier works, this album does, in fact, rank at the top of his oeuvre and compares favorably with the finest large-ensemble jazz recordings by anyone, including Ellington.
Reissue with the latest remastering. Features original cover artwork. The music of Charles Mingus – played by a great small combo headed up by Dannie Richmond, Mingus' drummer for over 20 years! The group on the set features members from Charles' last band – and is a quintet with Ricky Ford on tenor, Jack Walrath on trumpet, Bob Neloms on piano, and Cameron Brown on bass. Tunes are taken in a gentler, and more open-handed version than used on the original recordings – a style that's a nice contrast to that of Mingus, replacing the strength of his vision with a warmth and sensitivity that makes the tunes sparkle nicely. Titles include "Fables Of Faubus", "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat", "Nostalgia In Times Square", and "Duke Ellington Sound Of Love".