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The Experimentalists – Charles Mingus, Sonny Rollins, and John Coltrane (1956 - 1959)

Read "The Experimentalists – Charles Mingus, Sonny Rollins, and John Coltrane (1956 - 1959)" reviewed by Russell Perry

In his book “Hard Bop: Jazz and Black Music 1955-1965," David Rosenthal outlines a group of musicians within the hard bop idiom that he identifies as “experimentalists," describing them as ..."consciously trying to expand jazz's structural and technical boundaries: for instance, pianist Andrew Hill, Sonny Rollins, and John Coltrane prior to his 1965 record Ascension. This category would also include Thelonious Monk and Charles Mingus, whose playing and compositions were at once experimental and reminiscent of the moods and forms ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Charles Mingus: Jazz In Detroit / Strata Concert Gallery / 46 Selden

Read "Jazz In Detroit / Strata Concert Gallery / 46 Selden" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

With previously unreleased material from Dexter Gordon, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, and now, Charles Mingus, it may feel in 2018 like we are living fifty years in the past. Jazz In Detroit / Strata Concert Gallery / 46 Selden captures a short-lived quintet that--given time--could have been Mingus' best. Drummer Roy Brooks and trumpeter Joe Gardner had been touring Europe with the bassist and returned to play a radio broadcast on WDET in Detroit in 1973. Their host was a ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Charles Mingus: Jazz In Detroit / Strata Concert Gallery / 46 Selden

Read "Jazz In Detroit / Strata Concert Gallery / 46 Selden" reviewed by Chris May

Summer 2018 saw the general release of privately held recordings by two giants of twentieth century jazz. First up was John Coltrane's Both Directions At Once: The Lost Album (Impulse!). It was followed by Thelonious Monk's Mønk (Gearbox). In autumn 2018, recordings by another totemic figure, Charles Mingus, become the year's third newly revealed archaeological discovery. The release of the Coltrane album was hyped as an event akin to the excavation of the Dead Sea Scrolls, ...

JAZZ JOURNAL

Spring 2018

Read "Spring 2018" reviewed by Doug Collette

Jazz Journal is a regular column consisting of pithy takes on recent jazz releases of note as well as spotlights on those titles in the genre that might otherwise go unnoticed under the cultural radar. Charles Mingus Live at Montreux 1975 Eagle Records 2018 Right from the opening notes of Charlies Mingus' jaunty insistent bass, Live at Montreaux 1975 captures the idiosyncratic jazz icon's personality to a T. Challenging charts for the ...

HI-RES JAZZ

Charles Mingus and Miles Davis: Changing Moods

Read "Charles Mingus and Miles Davis: Changing Moods" reviewed by Mark Werlin

The recordings of Charles Mingus in the mid-1950s document a musical voice so distinctive that they are immediately recognizable today. But Mingus' obsessive commitment to the primacy of the composition was not always shared by his peers, nor understood by his critics. A public feud between Mingus, who was struggling unsuccessfully to win critical recognition and financial rewards, and Miles Davis, then poised for prominence and commercial success, contains clues to the musical conundrum that both sought to ...

MY BLUE NOTE OBSESSION

Charles Mingus: Mingus in Wonderland – 1959

Read "Charles Mingus: Mingus in Wonderland – 1959" reviewed by Marc Davis

In 1959, there were two Charles Minguses: the Mingus you knew and the Mingus you didn't. In May 1959, Mingus recorded his very best album ever: the incomparable Mingus Ah Um. And I mean incomparable in the literal sense. There is, literally, no other record quite like it. It's a big band, but not a Big Band. It's progressive but approachable. It's a tribute to the past that is also forward-looking. It is simply a tour de force. ...

BOOK REVIEWS

Better Git It In Your Soul: An Interpretive Biography of Charles Mingus

Read "Better Git It In Your Soul: An Interpretive Biography of Charles Mingus" reviewed by Ian Patterson

Better Git It In Your Soul: An Interpretive Biography Of Charles Mingus Krin Gabbard 296 Pages ISBN: 978-0-520 University California Press 2016 Compared to other historically important jazz figures, few have been the books dedicated to Charles Mingus, which is strange given his enduring influence on modern jazz practitioners. Perhaps Mingus was simply too complex a figure, both as a character and as a prolific composer of wildly inventive music to invite easy ...

BOOK EXCERPTS

Mingus Speaks

Read "Mingus Speaks" reviewed by John Goodman

Mingus on the Avant-Garde and Tradition Here's Charles Mingus talking about two of his favorite subjects, the avant-garde pretenders and the need for jazz players to understand the traditions of their music. The excerpt is from my book Mingus Speaks (2013, University of California Press). --John F Goodman Mingus: Everybody's got ego and everybody who lives in a human body thinks they're better than another guy. Even if a guy's considered to be a nigger ...

SHRINKTUNES

The Mingus Excerpt

Read "The Mingus Excerpt" reviewed by Dr. Judith Schlesinger

“The Mingus Excerpt" shows a sweet side of Charles Mingus that few people saw or could imagine. After all, his nickname was “The Angry Man of Jazz," and most biographical material supports that designation in one way or other. But for all his bluster and bombast, there was also generosity and kindness. This story describes his unlikely friendship with Steve Reichman, a young Jewish kid from the suburbs who eventually committed suicide in Morocco, at the age of ...

BOOK REVIEWS

Mingus Speaks

Read "Mingus Speaks" reviewed by Ian Patterson

Mingus Speaks John F. Goodman 329 pages ISBN: 978-0-520-27523-2 University of California Press 2013 Many are the books written about bassist/composer and bandleader Charles Mingus--one of the most influential jazz figures of the post-war years. His own autobiographical work, Beneath the Underdog (Knopf, 1971) was a sprawling, boiling stew of memoir and fiction that remains the most revealing portrait of an artist as anguished as he was brilliant. Bouts of depression, a period ...

BOOK REVIEWS

Marc Myers: Why Jazz Happened

Read "Marc Myers: Why Jazz Happened" reviewed by Ian Patterson

Why Jazz HappenedMarc Myers266 pagesISBN 9780520268784University of California Press2012Jazz's timeline and the iconic figures of each of its successive stylistic movements are well known to aficionados. Less well understood, however, are the underlying conditions that created these changes. Advances in recording technologies, social trends, radio, the incursion of pop and rock, and socio-political factors all played major roles in shaping the evolution of jazz, says music journalist and ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

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

Read "Mingus Ah Um: 50th Anniversary Legacy Edition" reviewed by Stuart Broomer

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 ...


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