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

Russell Perry By

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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 of earlier black music, including jazz of the 1920s and 1930s.


  • Host Intro 0:00
  • Charles Mingus Quartet "Profile of Jackie" from Pithecanthropus Erectus (Atlantic) 2:54
  • Host speaks 6:00
  • Charles Mingus Nonet "Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting" from Blues and Roots (Atlantic) 6:42
  • Host speaks 12:21
  • Charles Mingus Septet "Boogie Stop Shuffle" from The Norton Collection (Norton) 13:22
  • Charles Mingus Septet "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat" from Minus Ah Um (Columbia) 17:07
  • Host speaks 22:47
  • Sonny Rollins Quartet "St. Thomas" from Saxophone Colossus (Prestige) 25:39
  • Host speaks 32:27
  • Sonny Rollins Trio "Come, Gone" from Way Out West. (Contemporary) 33:04
  • Host speaks 40:52
  • John Coltrane Sextet "Moments Notice" from Blue Train (Blue Note) 43:12
  • Host speaks 52:17
  • John Coltrane Quartet "Giant Steps" from Giant Steps (Atlantic) 52:52
  • Host Outro 57:34

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