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SHRINKTUNES

The Mingus Excerpt

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“The Mingus Excerpt" shows a sweet side of Charles Mingus that few people saw or could imagine. After all, his nickname was “The Angry Man of Jazz," and most biographical material supports that designation in one way or other. But for all his bluster and bombast, there was also generosity and kindness. This story describes his unlikely friendship with Steve Reichman, a young Jewish kid from the suburbs who eventually committed suicide in Morocco, at the age of 19. His parents' frantic need to understand what happened led to Mingus's surprise gift for the memorial, and ultimately to ...

BOOK REVIEWS

Mingus Speaks

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Mingus Speaks John F. Goodman 329 pages ISBN: 978-0-520-27523-2 University of California Press 2013 Many are the books written about bassist/composer and bandleader Charles Mingus--one of the most influential jazz figures of the post-war years. His own autobiographical work, Beneath the Underdog (Knopf, 1971) was a sprawling, boiling stew of memoir and fiction that remains the most revealing portrait of an artist as anguished as he was brilliant. Bouts of depression, a period in a psychiatric ward and a downturn in the fortunes of jazz saw Mingus withdraw ...

BOOK REVIEWS

Marc Myers: Why Jazz Happened

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Why Jazz HappenedMarc Myers266 pagesISBN 9780520268784University of California Press2012Jazz's timeline and the iconic figures of each of its successive stylistic movements are well known to aficionados. Less well understood, however, are the underlying conditions that created these changes. Advances in recording technologies, social trends, radio, the incursion of pop and rock, and socio-political factors all played major roles in shaping the evolution of jazz, says music journalist and jazz blogger Marc Myers. Whilst these arguments aren't entirely new, Myers brings them all together in cogent manner and gives ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Charles Mingus: Mingus Ah Um: 50th Anniversary Legacy Edition

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This special edition marks the 50th anniversary of bassist Charles Mingus' 1959 Columbia masterpiece, one of the great records in a year that included Miles Davis' Kind of Blue (Columbia), John Coltrane's Giant Steps (Atlantic) and Ornette Coleman's The Shape of Jazz to Come (Atlantic). The Legacy edition is a two-CD set that also includes Mingus' second Columbia record of 1959, Mingus Dynasty, as well as alternate takes. It restores portions that were edited out on the original LPs in the interests of length and generally follows the three-CD 1998 release of The Complete 1959 Columbia Recordings, omitting just three ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Charles Mingus: Mingus Ah Um

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Drop the needle on Charles Mingus' bluesy call to prayer on “Better Git It In Your Soul" and Legacy's decision to include Ah Um in its vinyl series comes into sharp focus. There's simply no better way to hear the 1959 Columbia masterpiece than on 12" vinyl and, while it may be hard to detect the business logic behind the series, the meticulous remastering by Allan Tucker makes clear the aesthetic motive. During the last decade, the major jazz labels have essentially been in the reissue business. Archival photos and historical essays have cluttered CD liner notes ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Mingus Big Band and Cyrus Chestnut Trio at The Kimmel Center, Philadelphia

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Cyrus Chestnut Trio and Mingus Big BandThe Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts Verizon Hall Philadelphia, Pennsylvania February 22, 2008 There is a saying to the effect that “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade." That is what the Kimmel Center did with two problems that arose on this particular concert evening. First, T.S. Monk cancelled his engagement due to illness. But Cyrus Chestnut was recruited as a substitute and turned out to be a gentle “knight in shining armor," graciously performing a series of Thelonious Monk standards. Then, on ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Charles Mingus Sextet with Eric Dolphy: Cornell 1964

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Confrontational, sprawling and historic, this resurrected March 1964 performance by one of his favorite bands--Johnny Coles (trumpet) and Clifford Jordan (saxophone) with favorite sons Dannie Richmond (drums), Jaki Byard (piano) and Eric Dolphy (reeds, flutes)--presents the muse of bassist Charles Mingus in all its terrible glory.

Split here between two CDs, this performance begins with two more or less solo pieces. Byard renders an amazing unaccompanied performance on “ATFW," his combination tribute to Art Tatum and Fats Waller," blistering runs into complete stops, an elegant waltz time passage and then boogie-woogie. Mingus next commands “Sophisticated Lady" in mostly ...



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