402

Charles Mingus: Thrice Upon A Theme

By

Sign in to view read count
Charles Mingus: Thrice Upon A Theme The reissue/compilation has always held a tenuous position in the music world. At best, it can save a work from obscurity; at worst, it can take it out of historical context and unnecessarily clutter the market with music that has been safely anthologized. A reissue of a reissue, Thrice Upon a Theme, is nonetheless a welcome addition to Charles Mingus' vast discography.

The two-disc set contains a pair of relatively obscure mid-'50s sessions that in one case predate and in the other coincide with the bassist's groundbreaking work on Atlantic Records. Disc one, originally released on the obscure Period label and later reissued on Bethlehem, finds Mingus leading a sextet through a set of reworked standards and striking originals. Mingus' maturity both as a player and composer is apparent throughout the odd session as he restlessly plucks lines or pounds out dissonant voicings on the piano behind the soloists, who alternately shine and flounder amid the intricate framework. Thad Jones' trumpet mumbles and leaps over a thorny horn accompaniment on "What Is This Thing Called Love, before making way for John LaPorta's sharp, biting alto and the airy tenor of a young Teo Macero.

"Minor Intrusions and "Thrice Upon A Theme brilliantly illustrate Mingus' prowess as a composer and foreshadow his future triumphs on albums like The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady (1963) and Let My Children Hear Music (1971). Unfortunately, by 1954 the leader had yet to form a working unit, and while the horns hold their own, the group as a whole doesn't maintain the focus that characterized Mingus' later successes.

Disc two, a trio session from 1957 on Jubilee, finds Mingus and his musical soulmate Dannie Richmond in the company of the brilliant, underappreciated pianist Hampton Hawes. Mingus quietly plucks the melody to "Tea for Two behind Hawes, who interprets Johnny Mercer's "Laura with the wit and grace of touch of a true master, before turning it over to Mingus, whose languid lines hang in the air like wisps of smoke over Hawes' bell-like accompaniment. On "Summertime, Mingus' avant gardism is on full display. Richmond's tambourine is joined by a jarring bass ostinato before Hawes enters, playing the melody in urgent octaves. Richmond solos, followed by Mingus, whose bent notes and percussive effects are halted in mid-flight when Hawes strums the final haunting chord on the piano's strings.

Track Listing: CD1: What is This Thing Called Love; Minor Intrusions; Spur of the Moment; Thrice Upon a Theme; Four Hands; Stormy Weather. CD2: Laura; Hamp's New Blues; Summertime; Dizzy Moods; Yesterdays; Back Home Blues; I Can't Get Started.

Personnel: Charles Mingus: bass, piano; Thad Jones: trumpet; John LaPorta: alto saxophone; Teo Macero: tenor and baritone saxophone; Jackson Wiley: cello; Clem DeRosa: drums; Hampton Hawes: piano; Dannie Richmond: drums.

Title: Thrice Upon a Theme | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: AIM Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Birdhoused CD/LP/Track Review Birdhoused
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: July 22, 2017
Read Vol. 1 CD/LP/Track Review Vol. 1
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 22, 2017
Read Meeting My Shadow CD/LP/Track Review Meeting My Shadow
by James Nadal
Published: July 22, 2017
Read No Secrets No Lies CD/LP/Track Review No Secrets No Lies
by Geannine Reid
Published: July 22, 2017
Read 50 CD/LP/Track Review 50
by Doug Collette
Published: July 22, 2017
Read Day After Day CD/LP/Track Review Day After Day
by John Eyles
Published: July 21, 2017
Read "Natural Language" CD/LP/Track Review Natural Language
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 9, 2016
Read "The Core Trio Live, featuring Matthew Shipp" CD/LP/Track Review The Core Trio Live, featuring Matthew Shipp
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 20, 2016
Read "This Could Be That" CD/LP/Track Review This Could Be That
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: August 2, 2016
Read "June" CD/LP/Track Review June
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Free World Music" CD/LP/Track Review Free World Music
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 31, 2016
Read "Time/Life:Songs For The Whales And Other Beings" CD/LP/Track Review Time/Life:Songs For The Whales And Other Beings
by Ian Patterson
Published: May 17, 2017

Support All About Jazz: MAKE A PURCHASE  

Support our sponsor

Upgrade Today!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.

Donate!