All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

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

Related Articles

Read Live CD/LP/Track Review
Live
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: April 21, 2018
Read Humanities CD/LP/Track Review
Humanities
by David A. Orthmann
Published: April 21, 2018
Read Wild Is The Wind CD/LP/Track Review
Wild Is The Wind
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 21, 2018
Read Fairytales CD/LP/Track Review
Fairytales
by Gareth Thompson
Published: April 21, 2018
Read Origins CD/LP/Track Review
Origins
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Bright Force CD/LP/Track Review
Bright Force
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 20, 2018
Read "Live At Jazz Room Cortez" CD/LP/Track Review Live At Jazz Room Cortez
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 14, 2017
Read "Burn The Boat" CD/LP/Track Review Burn The Boat
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: May 18, 2017
Read "Lucus" CD/LP/Track Review Lucus
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: January 22, 2018
Read "Departures" CD/LP/Track Review Departures
by Troy Dostert
Published: December 19, 2017
Read "Contact" CD/LP/Track Review Contact
by Geno Thackara
Published: October 31, 2017
Read "There Is No Love" CD/LP/Track Review There Is No Love
by Phil Barnes
Published: July 18, 2017