203

The Mingus Big Band: Que Viva Mingus!

Jim Santella By

Sign in to view read count
The Mingus Big Band: Que Viva Mingus! Charles Mingus wrote over 300 compositions in his lifetime, all of which provoke interest among fans of good music. The ten Mingus compositions presented here were arranged specifically for the New York-based Mingus Big Band by Michael Mossman, Chico O'Farrill, Hilton Ruiz, Sy Johnson, Earl McIntyre, Steve Slagle and Ronnie Cuber. The Latin sounds of this session import cultural influences from Spain, Mexico, Columbia, Puerto Rico, and several other Caribbean countries.

When Mingus assembled Tijuana Moods, which predated the Gil Evans / Miles Davis collaboration Sketches of Spain, he showed the world another side of his compositional management. In fact, the fusion of music from various cultures is at the heart of jazz. Four of the tracks on Que Viva Mingus! are compositions from Tijuana Moods that have been arranged for the band. Steve Turre's plaintive cries through his conch shells open the recording session with the classic "Cumbia & Jazz Fusion." Solos from saxophonists Steve Slagle and John Stubblefield, pianist David Kikowski and trumpeter Randy Brecker are followed by some earthy "Shortnin' Bread" lyrics from Stubblefield and Ku-umba Frank Lacy. Evoking a trademark tongue-in-cheek manner, Stubblefield tells us that "Mama's little baby don't like no shortnin' bread / Mama's little baby likes truffles / Mama's little baby likes caviar / Mama's little baby likes all the fine things of life". Then Lacy relates that "Mama's little baby likes school / So our kids won't be raised to act like no fool." They've captured the original Mingus mood.

"Los Mariachis" supplies mariachi trumpet harmony to introduce lyrical bassist John Benitez, who borrowed Mingus' lion's head Roth bass for this performance. Young lion tenor saxophonist David Sanchez and trombonist Clark Guyton each produce spirited solos before the mariachi effect returns to close the loop. "Tijuana Gift Shop" finds Earl McIntyre's tuba at the very bottom of the big band arrangement before the ensemble trims down to a piano trio in support of soloists Ryan Kisor on trumpet and Vincent Herring on alto saxophone. Ronnie Cuber's baritone saxophone, an obvious trademark of the Mingus Big Band, stretches out on "Dizzy Moods," Chris Potter's alto saxophone turns up the heat on "Far Wells Mill Valley," and Mark Shim's tenor saxophone provides something cool on "Slippers." The session ends with the dramatic "Ysabel's Table Dance." Both Seamus Blake on tenor sax and Steve Slagle on alto sax supply echoes of La Conja's vocal chants during their emotionally-charged solo choruses. Through the music of this dedicated big band, Mingus lives on. Highly recommended.


Track Listing: Cumbia & Jazz Fusion; Tijuana Gift Shop; Moods in Mambo;Los Mariachis; Far Wells Mill Valley; Dizzy Moods; Slippers; Love Chant; Eatthat Chicken (Paella); Ysabel's Table Dance.

Year Released: 1998 | Record Label: Dreyfus Records


Shop

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Behind the Vibration" CD/LP/Track Review Behind the Vibration
by Mark F. Turner
Published: May 29, 2016
Read "All Things" CD/LP/Track Review All Things
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 26, 2016
Read "Vol. 02" CD/LP/Track Review Vol. 02
by Dave Wayne
Published: November 21, 2016
Read "More Than Meets The Ear" CD/LP/Track Review More Than Meets The Ear
by Troy Collins
Published: February 25, 2016
Read "Miniatures" CD/LP/Track Review Miniatures
by Mark Sullivan
Published: July 20, 2016
Read "Of the Tree" CD/LP/Track Review Of the Tree
by Dave Wayne
Published: October 9, 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!