This 2-CD set takes the 1974 album Mingus At Carnegie Hall (Atlantic) and adds seventy minutes of previously unissued material recorded at the same concert. It is as worthwhile an addition to Charles Mingus' recorded legacy as 2020's previously unissued 2-CD set Charles Mingus @ Bremen 1964 & 1975 (Sunnyside). Why it has taken so long for either set to be released is anybody's guess. But at least we have them now.
Mingus led many great bands during his career, but those from the the late 1950s and early 1960s have tended to be perceived as representing his belle epoque, overshadowing some equally outstanding later aggregations. One of these is Mingus' mid 1970s quintet with trumpeter Jack Walrath, tenor saxophonist George Adams, pianist Don Pullen and drummer Dannie Richmond, who are featured on the 1975 portion of the Bremen set. The previous year, Mingus led a sextet including Adams, Pullen and Richmond, in which Jon Faddis was the trumpeter and Hamiet Bluiett played baritone saxophone. This is the core group heard on Mingus At Carnegie Hall (Deluxe Edition), augmented on the two tracks which made up the 1974 release ("Perdido" and "C Jam Blues") by three guest artists and Mingus alumni, tenor saxophonist Rahsaan Roland Kirk and alto saxophonists John Handy and Charles McPherson.
CD1 starts with a brief introduction by concert promoter Art Weiner. This is followed by vibrant versions of three Mingus favourites, "Peggy's Blue Skylight" (first recorded by him in 1961), "Celia" (ditto 1957) and "Fables Of Faubus" (ditto 1959). CD2 opens with a new piece, Pullen's joyous "Big Alice." The previously released second half of the concert, "Perdido" and "C Jam Blues," follows.
Mingus and Richmond aside, the magic thread running through Mingus At Carnegie Hall (Deluxe Edition) is the symbiotic inside/outside relationship of Adams and Pullen (which was soon to be formalized in their own, co-led band). That is not to suggest that Faddis or Bluiett fall short. Indeed, Faddis pretty much makes "Celia" his own. The saxophone quintet heard on we already know from the 1974 release to be something special. All this and great sound, too. Verily, our cup runneth over.
CD1: Introduction; Peggy’s Blue Skylight; Celia; Fables Of Faubus. CD2: Big Alice; Perdido; C