How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Recorded in 1973 with one of his best ensembles, Charles Mingus’ Atlantic album has "that Mingus sound" down pat, pretty much at dead center. Piano, bass and drums roll out the beat while horns tackle the composer’s changes. There’s never a dull moment.
Highly recommended, the album opens with a typically Mingus slow 6/8 dramatic "Canon" that features George Adams’ muscular tenor alongside Ronald Hampton’s soothing trumpet. The quintet combines Don Pullen’s swirling keyboard figures and Dannie Richmond’s percussive ramblings in their mainstream presentation. Adams’ furious episodes are balanced with mellow, swan-like dances arm-in-arm with trumpet. Hampton’s clear tone and sloppy technique recall a recent-day Freddie Hubbard, but his natural approach somehow fits the occasion. Adams, who plays both flute and tenor on "Newcomer," overshadows the fragile trumpet sound with a soft jazz lull. Together, they read Pullen’s composition and support the pianist gently. Elsewhere, separately, they manage to absorb Mingus’ leadership and define straight-ahead jazz smack dab in the middle.
Track Listing: Canon; Opus 4; Moves; Wee; Flowers for a Lady; Newcomer; Opus 3.
Personnel: Charles Mingus- bass; Ronald Hampton- trumpet; George Adams- tenor saxophone, flute on "Moves" and "Newcomer;" Don Pullen- piano; Dannie Richmond- drums; Honey Gordon, Doug Hammond- vocals on "Moves."