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 Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2) CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Goat Man & The House of the Dead CD/LP/Track Review Goat Man & The House of the Dead
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by James Nadal
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "Live in Concert" CD/LP/Track Review Live in Concert
by David Becker
Published: January 30, 2017
Read "Message From Saturn" CD/LP/Track Review Message From Saturn
by James Nadal
Published: November 12, 2016
Read "Beam Me Up" CD/LP/Track Review Beam Me Up
by Dave Wayne
Published: April 21, 2016
Read "Resolution" CD/LP/Track Review Resolution
by Dave Wayne
Published: November 15, 2016
Read "Montréal" CD/LP/Track Review Montréal
by Roger Farbey
Published: February 11, 2017
Read "Super Petite" CD/LP/Track Review Super Petite
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 17, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

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!