422

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

By

Sign in to view read count
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 alternate takes from the Dynasty sessions.

It's extremely well-known material but no matter how often one hears it, it's impressive work, from the stunning range of textures and moods that Mingus can summon from a small group—just seven players on the Ah Um sessions—to the tumultuous energy that he and drummer Dannie Richmond can generate. Mingus celebrates many of his forebears without actually imitating them, including the classic homage to the then recently-deceased Lester Young, "Good-bye Pork Pie Hat"; the skipping two-beat syncopation of "Jelly Roll" that suggests Morton; the "Open Letter to Duke," an invocation of Mingus' principal model with a Latin beat and the expressionist "Bird Calls," which looks ahead to free jazz as much as it pays tribute to Charlie Parker.

Throughout the first disc, Mingus is well-served by his sidemen, from the elegant trombone work of Jimmy Knepper or Willie Dennis to the stylistic contrasts of the saxophonists—Booker Ervin's heated tenor, John Handy's suave refinement and the deep blues of Shafi Hadi. The compositions get denser and more ambitious on the slightly less-successful Dynasty sessions, including the occasional addition of cello parts, but it's still a major work, a composition of sublime spirit and luminous intelligence. It was just a year later that Mingus constructed hisgreatest small group—the quartet with Eric Dolphy that recorded Charles Mingus Presents Charles Mingus—but with Mingus Ah Um he had already made his greatest statement as a composer.

Track Listing: CD1: Better Git It In Your Soul; Goodbye Pork Pie Hat; Boogie Stop Shuffle; Self-Portrait In Three Colors; Open Letter To Duke; Bird Calls; Fables of Faubus; Pussy Cat Dues; Jelly Roll; Pedal Point Blues; GG Train; Girl of My Dreams; Bird Calls (Alternate Take]. CD2: Better Git It In Your Soul (Alternatve Take); Jelly Roll (Alternative Take); Slop; Diane; Song With Orange; Gunslinging Bird; Things Ain't What They Used To Be; Far Wells, Mill Valley; New Now, Know How; Mood Indigo; Put Me In That Dungeon; Strollin' (Nostalgia In Times Square).

Personnel: Personnel: Charles Mingus: piano, bass instrument, upright bass; Seymour Barab, Maurice Brown: cello; Jerome Richardson; flute, baritone saxophone; John Handy: clarinet, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone; Shafi Hadi: alto saxophone, tenor saxophone; Benny Golson, Booker Ervin: tenor saxophone; Richard Williams, Don Ellis: trumpet; Jimmy Knepper, Willie Dennis: trombone; Horace Parlan, Roland Hanna: piano; Teddy Charles: vibraphone; Dannie Richmond: drums.

Title: Mingus Ah Um: 50th Anniversary Legacy Edition | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Legacy Recordings


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Whispers on the Wind CD/LP/Track Review Whispers on the Wind
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 23, 2017
Read Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman CD/LP/Track Review Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 23, 2017
Read Heptagon CD/LP/Track Review Heptagon
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 23, 2017
Read ON Tour CD/LP/Track Review ON Tour
by John Kelman
Published: October 22, 2017
Read On a Distant Shore CD/LP/Track Review On a Distant Shore
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets CD/LP/Track Review Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read "Green Moss Black Sand" CD/LP/Track Review Green Moss Black Sand
by Chris Mosey
Published: July 30, 2017
Read "Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets" CD/LP/Track Review Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read "Groovin' Hard: Live at the Penthouse 1964-1968" CD/LP/Track Review Groovin' Hard: Live at the Penthouse 1964-1968
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: August 27, 2017
Read "Bring Joy" CD/LP/Track Review Bring Joy
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: January 4, 2017
Read "Genesis" CD/LP/Track Review Genesis
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 4, 2016
Read "Signs" CD/LP/Track Review Signs
by Doug Collette
Published: September 10, 2017

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY IT!  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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