With Clifford Jordan on tenor, John Handy on alto, Jane Getz on piano, and Dannie Richmond on drums, Charles Mingus went into San Francisco in 1964 and whipped up a storm. Originally issued as Debut LP 86017, this session was reissued by Fantasy (Original Jazz Classics) in 1990 on compact disc. It contains two compositions over 23-minutes each: "New Fables" and "Meditation (For A Pair Of Wire Cutters)." The sound is very good, and the subtleties are included; you can hear Mingus urging his henchmen on, slapping his bass strings against the wood, and there are crowd noises to remind you this is a live session.
"New Fables" features a ten-minute solo from Jordan, some fine ensemble work, and a solo encounter from Handy. Mingus changes the mood as he sees fit, and one would describe these different styles as avant-garde (in 1964), blues, flamenco, and straight-ahead jazz. Handy's work is stirring, deeply imaginative, technically thrilling, and a harbinger of what was to come the following year at Monterey.
"Meditations" offers something quite different: Mingus bowing the bass in the cello range with that certain sad quality, teenager Jane Getz playing loose, free, and exciting, much as she does today, and a moment where Mingus joins Getz for a four-handed piano romp. The piece is a flowing ballad, but there are constant changes throughout. The music is, as Rachel Sales states in the liner notes, "what we have come to expect from Mingus the bassist-composer: the sound of exuberance, of angry involvement, or joy and rage, of going-for-broke, and most of all, the `sound of surprise'."