485

Charles Mingus Sextet with Eric Dolphy: Cornell 1964

Chris M. Slawecki By

Sign in to view read count
Charles Mingus Sextet with Eric Dolphy: Cornell 1964 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 solo bass except for the occasionally whispered piano chord.

Each CD hangs from its thirty-minute centerpiece, each a storied Mingus original. "Fables of Faubus" purposefully swings its wobbly, roly-poly melody on the first CD, with Richmond dropping bass drum bombs that literally make Mingus shout for more; Mingus, of course, solos with dexterity and vision that makes you wonder how anyone's fingers could keep up with such a torrent of ideas. Disc one ends with a spirited collective rampage through "Take the 'A' Train." The Mingus/Richmond rhythm engine builds up locomotive power—Mingus pummels this rhythm, almost daring Richmond to keep pace—as Byard's boogie piano solo rocks the caboose harder than Ellington's more refined piano style.

"Meditations" open disc two in the serious, contemplative spirit communally created between Mingus' bowed playing, Byard's studious piano and Dolphy's flute. While Cole's trumpet and Jordan's saxophone rip through its subsequent tumult, Byard sounds bent on knocking down structures that the other ensemble players build up. Written to honor Dolphy, who had confided plans to leave Mingus' employ after this sextet's scheduled European tour, Mingus' jumpy blues, "So Long Eric," sounds more joyous than your usual farewell. (Dolphy remained in Europe after this tour, suddenly lapsed into a diabetic coma and died in June 1964 at age 36.) Dolphy's dancing flute is also the perfect instrument to lead the evening's finale, Fats Waller's fun and lively "Jitterbug Waltz."

As it moves so assuredly through this program of Mingus originals cast in Strayhorn, Ellington and Waller, you almost wonder if Live at Cornell is the sound of Mingus writing his own history of American jazz—or perhaps even more, the sound of him writing his own place within it.


Track Listing: CD1: Opening; ATFW You; Sophisticated Lady; Fables of Faubus; Orange Was the Colour of Her Dress, Then Blue Silk; Take the "A" Train. CD2: Meditations; So Long Eric; When Irish Eyes Are Smiling; Jitterbug Waltz.

Personnel: Charles Mingus: bass; Eric Dolphy: alto sax, flute, bass clarinet; Johnny Coles: trumpet; Clifford Jordan: tenor sax; Jaki Byard: piano; Dannie Richmond: drums.

Title: Cornell 1964 | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Blue Note Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends CD/LP/Track Review Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Heaven On Their Minds CD/LP/Track Review Heaven On Their Minds
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Unnatural  Events CD/LP/Track Review Unnatural Events
by Roger Farbey
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Rediscovered Ellington CD/LP/Track Review Rediscovered Ellington
by James Nadal
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Clean CD/LP/Track Review Clean
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 15, 2017
Read Expedition: Duo Electro-Acoustic Improvisations CD/LP/Track Review Expedition: Duo Electro-Acoustic Improvisations
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 15, 2017
Read "Garden(s)" CD/LP/Track Review Garden(s)
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 14, 2017
Read "Mata Hati" CD/LP/Track Review Mata Hati
by Dave Wayne
Published: March 10, 2017
Read "The Sun Though the Rain" CD/LP/Track Review The Sun Though the Rain
by Geannine Reid
Published: July 31, 2017
Read "Smokin’ in Seattle: Live at the Penthouse (1966)" CD/LP/Track Review Smokin’ in Seattle: Live at the Penthouse (1966)
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: May 14, 2017
Read "Discoveries on Tracker Action Organs" CD/LP/Track Review Discoveries on Tracker Action Organs
by John Eyles
Published: January 21, 2017
Read "Quartet Plus, Volume 2" CD/LP/Track Review Quartet Plus, Volume 2
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 21, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.