383

Charles Mingus: His Final Work

Robert Middleton By

Sign in to view read count
4.5 Ears

Like a dog that loves a fire hydrant, my ears love Mingus. I bought both of these some time ago but have been going through a Mingus phase and realized I had only played them once or twice. They are both treasure troves of classical American jazz at its finest. Make no question about it, Mingus was deadly serious about his music. For him, improvisation never meant "anything goes." On every composition, he left an indelible stamp — whether a sorrowful ballad like "Vassarlean," on Soulful or an up-tempo romp like "Slop," on Final.

Mingus' had more dynamic interplay amongst the musicians - and the more horns the better - than anyone else in Jazz (with Ellington being the notable exception). Dannie Richmond, on drums, played with him steadily for 20 years or so. Can you fathom that? Can you imagine the telepathy they must have developed? He loved certain phrases and would twist and turn them, often transforming them into new compositions, and then sometimes confusing us by renaming old compositions and changing them a little. He recorded some songs several times, each a little different, always fresh and inventive.

On Soulful, a collection of some of his best Candid sides, he teams up with Roy Eldridge, Tommy Flanagan and Eric Dolphy on three of the most memorable pieces - each a masterpiece. Check out Dolphy's swinging solo on Mysterious Blues. On Final he plays with a 10 piece band that includes Woody Shaw, Gerry Mulligan and Lionel Hampton. Each are afforded ample solo space. This is a bright, fun album, quite unlike anything he'd attempted previously. Produced by Lionel Hampton and arranged by Paul Jeffrey it's not quite as loose or intense as much of Mingus' output, but the big band sound, Lionel's solos and the overall upbeat feel makes it fitting that it was the last recording Mingus actually played on. (He led a couple other recording sessions, but did not play.) Nothing Mingus recorded was bad or dull. Some was a little uneven. Some was wildly passionate. And some was just plain great jazz. And that's what these two albums are - Great Jazz!

| Record Label: Who's Who In Jazz | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "The Motorman's Son" CD/LP/Track Review The Motorman's Son
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "Tropical Infinito" CD/LP/Track Review Tropical Infinito
by Edward Blanco
Published: May 8, 2016
Read "Live In Sant'Anna Arresi, 2004" CD/LP/Track Review Live In Sant'Anna Arresi, 2004
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: December 7, 2016
Read "The Unquiet Sky" CD/LP/Track Review The Unquiet Sky
by Edward Blanco
Published: May 1, 2016
Read "Groove Legacy" CD/LP/Track Review Groove Legacy
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: May 8, 2016
Read "Chapters Of My Life" CD/LP/Track Review Chapters Of My Life
by James Nadal
Published: March 16, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!