What a major, charismatic figure in jazz. His compositions were filled with fire and ice. His bass playing and piano mastery served to lead stellar ensembles and to reveal Mingus' inner feelings. This album was originally issued in 1964. The two recording dates include changes of personnel. Five compositions by Charles Mingus demonstrate quite well the way he structured his suite-like portraits. Changes in meter, changes in mood, and overlapping themes weave a common thread, while each artist was encouraged to let his creative ideas flow freely.
The title track is full of exotic moods and dramatic tension. Always the vociferous leader, Mingus screams periodically to keep things in order. Outbursts and plaintive moans serve to color an exotic theme. Roland Kirk appears for three numbers. On "Invisible Lady," Jimmy Knepper's featured trombone voice and Mingus' keyboard converse, as would two old friends. Mingus moves to piano for Kirk's three appearances. The multiple saxophone blend builds excitement. As Booker Ervin is included, the two make quite a sensation. Mingus is at home expressing his blues-tinged thoughts on piano. "Peggy's Blue Skylight" begins with an extended piano introduction from Mingus. Kirk follows on stritch with a free flow of quoted ideas. Ervin's solo spot isn't his best work; however, Mingus' piano solo represents one complete picture of the artist. Kirk follows with a lovely tenor solo.
Shafi Hadi and Wade Legge appear on "Tonight at Noon" and "Passions of a Woman Loved." Kirk, Ervin and Doug Watkins appear on "Invisible Lady," "Old Blues for Walt's Torin" and "Peggy's Blue Skylight." Knepper and Richmond, Mingus regulars, appear for both sessions. While the duration of this reissue remains under 40 minutes, its value lies in the scenic compositions Mingus has created.
Personnel: Charles Mingus- bass, piano; Booker Ervin- tenor saxophone; Shafi Hadi- alto saxophone; Roland Kirk- saxophones; Jimmie Knepper- trombone; Wade Legge- piano; Doug Watkins- bass; Dannie Richmond- drums.