All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

485

Charles Mingus Sextet with Eric Dolphy: Cornell 1964

Chris M. Slawecki By

Sign in to view read count
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

Related Articles

Read Dawn CD/LP/Track Review
Dawn
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 27, 2018
Read Life Of CD/LP/Track Review
Life Of
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 27, 2018
Read Downtown Castles Can Never Block The Sun CD/LP/Track Review
Downtown Castles Can Never Block The Sun
by Gareth Thompson
Published: May 27, 2018
Read Enso CD/LP/Track Review
Enso
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 27, 2018
Read Let Your Light Shine On CD/LP/Track Review
Let Your Light Shine On
by Chris May
Published: May 27, 2018
Read Dirt...And More Dirt CD/LP/Track Review
Dirt...And More Dirt
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 26, 2018
Read "Bach: Solo Works for Marimba" CD/LP/Track Review Bach: Solo Works for Marimba
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 15, 2017
Read "The Best of Bossacucanova" CD/LP/Track Review The Best of Bossacucanova
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: June 6, 2017
Read "Somewhere In The Upstream" CD/LP/Track Review Somewhere In The Upstream
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 3, 2018
Read "II" CD/LP/Track Review II
by Kevin Press
Published: November 7, 2017
Read "Contrast" CD/LP/Track Review Contrast
by Paul Rauch
Published: March 7, 2018
Read "But Wait… There’s More! / Live 2017" CD/LP/Track Review But Wait… There’s More! / Live 2017
by Roger Weisman
Published: June 9, 2017