Archive for the Charles MINGUS Category

Charles MINGUS – The Black Saint & The Sinner Lady 1963

Posted in Charles MINGUS, JAZZ on December 23, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Charles MINGUS – The Black Saint & The Sinner Lady 1963
AS-35

Jazz

This 1963 recording occupies a special place in Mingus’s work, his most brilliantly realized extended composition. The six-part suite is a broad canvas for the bassist’s tumultuous passions, ranging from islands of serenity for solo guitar and piano to waves of contrapuntal conflict and accelerating rhythms that pull the listener into the musical psychodrama. It seems to mingle and transform both the heights and clichés of jazz orchestration, from Mingus’s master, Duke Ellington, to film noir soundtracks. The result is a masterpiece of sounds and textures, from the astonishing vocal effects of the plunger-muted trumpets and trombone (seeming to speak messages just beyond the range of understanding) to the soaring romantic alto of Charlie Mariano. Boiling beneath it all are the teeming, congested rhythms of Mingus and drummer Dannie Richmond and the deep morass of tuba and baritone saxophone. This is one of the greatest works in jazz composition, and it’s remarkable that Mingus dredged this much emotional power from a group of just 11 musicians.
**
Bass, Piano- Charlie Mingus
Drums- Dannie Richmond
Guitar- Jay Berliner
Piano- Jaki Byard
Alto Sax- Charlie Mariano
Soprano, Baritone Sax, Flute- Jerome Richardson
Tenor Sax, Flute- Dick Hafer
Trombone- Quentin Jackson
Trumpet- Richard Williams , Rolf Ericson
Tuba- Don Butterfield
**
A1.Solo Dancer (Stop! Look! And Listen, Sinner Jim Whitney!)   6:39
A2. Duet Solo Dancers (Heart’s Beat and Shades in Physical Embraces)   6:25
A3. Group Dancers ((Soul Fusion) Freewoman and Oh This Freedom’s Slave Cries)   7:00
B. Trio and Group Dancers (Stop! Look! And Sing Songs of Revolutions!)   17:25
– Single Solos and Group Dance (Saint and Sinner Join in Merriment on Battle Front)
– Group and Solo Dance (Of Love,Pain,and Passioned Revolt,Then Farewell,My Beloved,’til It’s Freedom Day)
**

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Charles MINGUS And Friends In Concert 1972

Posted in Charles MINGUS, JAZZ on December 2, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Charles MINGUS And Friends In Concert 1972

Jazz

This two-record set is the last remnant of Mingus’ brave and profoundly mad attempt to revive for a time the Big Band format. In February, 1972, he gathered 22 of the best working jazzmen in New York, including the members of his own quintet and special friends Gene Ammons, Dizzy Gillespie, Gerry Mulligan and Randy Weston, and sold out Philharmonic Hall on a freezing winter night. The concert was Mingus’ first appearance on a New York stage in ten years and from first note to last was an eclectic, jumbled, confusing affair. The producer and master of ceremonies, Bill Cosby, patronized Mingus’ audience and distracted the musicians with his buffoonery. Vocalist Honey Gordon was undermiked and inaudible. There was confusion among the under-rehearsed musicians about the order of solos, and there was a general complaint that Mingus didn’t make enough display of his artistry on the bass. In spite of all these headaches, this selectively edited and I suspect heavily remixed version of the concert is a gas, at once a tribute to the genius and vision of Mingus and a fine modern Big Band recording.
The program consists of a general Mingus retrospective retooled for the large ensemble, combined with single numbers and suites that Mingus wrote especially for the big band. Classics such as “Jump Monk,” “Ecclusiastics” and “E’s Flat” are all given new arrangements and sound fresh and ripe. The featured soloist on all three is Gene Ammons on tenor, playing a husky bluesy mix to which the audience often responded audibly. Also to be found here is the rarely played “Eclipse,” the deep blue, sexually earthy ballad that Mingus wrote for Billie Holiday. Honey Gordon’s deep alto is a sharp contrast to Holiday’s style, but she combines with the lowing instrumental section to make this one of the highlights of the album.
What makes this set worth the price of admission is a little mingling of Mingusiana with Ellingtonia called “Us Is Two”; it was the theme that Mingus wrote for his big band and for some reason didn’t put on the unsuccessful orchestral album Let My Children Hear Music. It’s a gorgeous and swinging trifle with sensation, definitely one of the most pleasing tunes that Mingus has ever composed and it’s evident that the musicians liked it too, as it gets the most rousing performance of the night.
This isn’t one of Mingus’ best albums and is the other direction from the jazz avant-garde, but this music is just fun to get high with and a good look at the latest chapter of the never dull adventures of Charles Mingus. And check out Gene Ammons—to these ears it’s the best recording he’s ever made.
By Stephen DAVIS.
**
Most of Charles Mingus’s larger-group recordings, particularly in the later part of his career, tended to be unruly and somewhat undisciplined. This two-CD reissue set (which adds five selections to the original two-LP program), which celebrated Mingus’s return to jazz after six years of little activity. Such great jazzmen as baritonist Gerry Mulligan, tenor saxophonist Gene Ammons, altoist Lee Konitz, pianist Randy Weston, James Moody (heard on flute) and a variety of Mingus regulars had a chance to play with the great bassist; even fellow bassist Milt Hinton and Bill Cosby (taking a humorous scat vocal) join in. Most of the music is overly loose but the overcrowded “E’s Flat, Ah’s Flat Too” and particularly the “Little Royal Suite” are memorable. The “Little Royal Suite,” in addition to Ammons, Konitz, Mulligan, Charles McPherson and Bobby Jones, features an 18-year old Jon Faddis (who was sitting in for an ailing Roy Eldridge) stealing the show.
By Scott Yanow, All Music Guide.
**
I found this rare February 1972 recording showcasing Charlie Mingus backed by an all star New York Jazz line-up to be spectacular. The album marked Mingus’ return to the public eye after an extended hiatas. Comedian Bill Cosby is the MC and even does a cute little scat vocal with Dizzy Gillespie. Featured artists included Gerry Mulligan, Gene Ammons and drummer Joe Chambers.
The stand-out piece has to be the 20 minute ‘Little Royal Suite’ featuring a (then) 18 year old Jon Faddis on trumpet, displaying amazing prowess in the upper register. He steals the show! Mingus himself has very limited solo space showing how generous he was to let his sidemen be heard instead.
This a must have for any Mingus fans collection.
By  J.J. Martin.
**
Arranged By – Charles Mingus (tracks: 1-8, 1-10, 2-4) , Sy Johnson (tracks: 1-2 to 1-7, 2-.2, 2-3, 2-6, 2-7)
Bass – Charles Mingus (tracks: 1-2 to 1-8, 1-10, 2-2 to 2-7) , Milt Hinton (tracks: 1-2 to 1-8, 1-10, 2-2 to 2-7)
Conductor, Producer [Original Recordings] – Teo Macero
Drums – Joe Chambers (tracks: 1-2 to 1-8, 1-10, 2-2 to 2-7)
French Horn – Dick Berg (tracks: 1-2 to 1-8, 1-10, 2-2 to 2-7) , Sharon Moe (tracks: 1-2 to 1-8, 1-10, 2-2 to 2-7)
Piano – John Foster (16) (tracks: 1-2 to 1-8, 1-10, 2-2 to 2-7)
Saxophone [Alto] – Charles McPherson (tracks: 1-2 to 1-8, 1-10, 2-2 to 2-7) , George Dorsey (tracks: 1-2 to 1-8, 1-10, 2-2 to 2-7) , Lee Konitz (tracks: 1-2 to 1-8, 1-10, 2-2 to 2-7)
Saxophone [Alto], Flute – Richie Perri (tracks: 1-2 to 1-8, 1-10, 2-2 to 2-7)
Saxophone [Baritone] – Gerry Mulligan (tracks: 1-2 to 1-8, 1-10, 2-2 to 2-7)
Saxophone [Baritone], Clarinet [Bass] – Howard Johnson (tracks: 1-2 to 1-8, 1-10, 2-2 to 2-7)
Saxophone [Tenor] – Gene Ammons (tracks: 1-2 to 1-8, 1-10, 2-2 to 2-7)
Saxophone [Tenor], Clarinet – Bobby Jones (2) (tracks: 1-2 to 1-8, 1-10, 2-2 to 2-7)
Technician [Transfer And Digital Editing] – Danny Kadar (tracks: 1-2 to 1-8, 1-10, 2-2 to 2-7)
Trombone [Tenor] – Eddie Bert (tracks: 1-2 to 1-8, 1-10, 2-2 to 2-7)
Trumpet – Eddie Preston (tracks: 1-2 to 1-8, 1-10, 2-2 to 2-7) , Jon Faddis (tracks: 1-2 to 1-8, 1-10, 2-2 to 2-7) , Lloyd Michaels (tracks: 1-2 to 1-8, 1-10, 2-2 to 2-7) , Lonnie Hillyer (tracks: 1-2 to 1-8, 1-10, 2-2 to 2-7)
Tuba – Bob Stewart (tracks: 1-2 to 1-8, 1-10, 2-2 to 2-7)
Written-By – Charles Mingus (tracks: 1-2 to 1-8, 1-10, 2-2 to 2-4, 2-6, 2-7)
**
1-1.   Introduction By Bill Cosby  1:06
Hosted By – Bill Cosby
1-2.   Jump Monk  7:28
Soloist, Saxophone [Alto] – Charles McPherson
Soloist, Saxophone [Tenior] – Gene Ammons
Soloist, Trombone – Eddie Bert
Soloist, Trumpet – Lonnie Hillyer
1-3.   E.S.P.  9:25
Soloist, Saxophone [Alto] – Lee Konitz
Soloist, Saxophone [Baritone] – Gerry Mulligan
Soloist, Saxophone [Tenor] – Gene Ammons
Soloist, Trumpet – Lonnie Hillyer
1-4.   Ecclusiastics  9:31
Soloist, Saxophone [Tenor] – Bobby Jones (2) , Gene Ammons
Soloist, Trumpet – Jon Faddis
1-5.   Eclipse  4:03
Vocals – Honey Gordon
1-6.   Us Is Two  10:12
Soloist, Saxophone [Alto] – Charles McPherson
Soloist, Saxophone [Tenor] – Bobby Jones (2) , Gene Ammons
1-7.   Taurus In The Arena Of Life  4:53
Soloist, Saxophone [Tenor] – Bobby Jones (2) , Gene Ammons
Soloist, Trumpet – Eddie Preston
1-8.   Mingus Blues  5:33
Soloist, Bass – Charles Mingus
Soloist, Saxophone [Tenor] – Gene Ammons
1-9.   Introduction To Little Royal Suite By Bill Cosby  0:14
Hosted By – Bill Cosby
1-10.  Little Royal Suite  20:20
Soloist, Saxophone [Alto] – Charles McPherson , Lee Konitz
Soloist, Saxophone [Baritone] – Gerry Mulligan
Soloist, Saxophone [Tenor] – Gene Ammons
Soloist, Trumpet – Jon Faddis
2-1.   Introduction To Strollin By Bill Cosby  0:50
2-2.   Strollin’  10:14
Soloist, Clarinet – Bobby Jones (2)
Soloist, Saxophone [Alto] – Lee Konitz , Richie Perri
Soloist, Saxophone [Baritone] – Gerry Mulligan , Howard Johnson
Soloist, Saxophone [Tenor] – Gene Ammons
Soloist, Trombone – Eddie Bert
Soloist, Trumpet – Lonnie Hillyer
Vocals – Honey Gordon
2-3.   The I Of Hurricane Sue  11:12
Soloist, Piano – John Foster (16)
Soloist, Saxophone [Alto] – Charles McPherson
Soloist, Saxophone [Tenor] – Bobby Jones (2)
2-4.   E’s Flat, Ah’s Flat Too (A.K.A Hora Decubitus)  17:08
Piano – Randy Weston
Soloist, Bass – Milt Hinton
Soloist, Drums – Joe Chambers
Soloist, Flute – James Moody
Soloist, Saxophone [Alto] – Lee Konitz
Soloist, Saxophone [Baritone] – Gerry Mulligan , Howard Johnson
Soloist, Saxophone [Tenor] – Bobby Jones (2) , Gene Ammons
Soloist, Trumpet – Jon Faddis , Lloyd Michaels , Lonnie Hillyer
2-5.   Ool-Ya-Koo  3:54
Vocals – Bill Cosby , Dizzy Gillespie
Written-By – John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie* , Walter “Gil” Fuller*
2-6.   Portrait  3:58
Soloist, Bass – Charles Mingus
Vocals – Honey Gordon
2-7.   Don’t Be Afraid, The Clown’s Afraid Too  10:36
Soloist, Bass – Charles Mingus
Soloist, Piano – John Foster (16)
Soloist, Saxophone [Tenor] – Bobby Jones (2)
Soloist, Trumpet – Jon Faddis , Lonnie Hillyer
**

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Charles MINGUS – Mingus At The Bohemia 1955

Posted in Charles MINGUS, JAZZ on November 23, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Charles MINGUS – Mingus At The Bohemia 1955
Recorded December 23, 1955, at Cafe Bohemia, NYC.
1990 Issue.

Jazz

Mingus at the Bohemia is an album by Charles Mingus, recorded during a live concert and released in 1955. Further recordings from the concert were released under he title The Charles Mingus Quintet & Max Roach

The songs from “Cafe Bohemia” contain the typical Mingus “Jazz Workshop” characteristics. A concert as work shop meant first of all a live experiment; this is mainly true for his “guest” musician Max Roach in “Percussion Discussion”. “Mingus at the Bohemia” fixed a moment in time where Mingus found his musical identity.

The first song, “Jump, Monk” is a tribute to Thelonious Monk, but has no connection to Monks music. Mingus rather tried to simulate with his bass play the dance like movements of the great musician. This composition is described by Mingus as “a profile of Monk”, not a complete picture of the man but a side view or one aspect of a complex personality. Actually, it is a double profile because we can see an important aspect of the composer, Mingus. The eight-bar, many-voiced section that keeps alternating with the melody most certainly mirrors the emotional, earthy quality found in both subject and composer. If you listen carefully to the last chorus, you will hear Mingus shout during a couple of the sections, thus bearing out the identity.

Of importance, also, are the compositional techniques used in this piece. Along with given melodic figures, the composer created the form and mood by giving the musicians scales on which they could build their own figures. These figures then had to appear in certain places and also had to maintain the mood of the composition. Listen to the first and last choruses and notice that even though George and Eddie play different notes in comparable places, the mood and feeling are still the same.

The second song, “Serenade in Blue” The compositional devices used here are diminution and agumentation. The melody is first played slow then diminished and played twice as fast. The piano augments the melody in the bridge and it sounds slow again. Once again it is diminished, or played fast, and we go into the blowing choruses.

The above mentioned “Percussion Discussion” is a duet of Mingus and Roach, which was later also used in the Epitaph suite[1]. Just two men playing two instruments that are very rarely found on the stand alone. Two men producing and assortment of rich and exciting sounds. Here is a chance to really enjoy the artistry of Max and Mingus. Notice the clean, true snare sound that Max gets on his highest pitched drum. As he moves from snare drum to tom-tom, there is no doubt that he’s changed intentionally. No muddled indistinct sound here but a real fresh, swinging sound for Max. And he has his earthly qualities too: strong, vigorous, earthy qualities. Mingus is tremendous, matching Max mood for mood. His pizzicato becomes so strong at times that it sounds very close to Max’s percussive effort. Also, for a new concept in jazz sounds, listen to the high, scraping sound Mingus gets on his bass immediately after Max’s cymbal entrance.

The “Work Song” (not to be confused with the Nat Adderley composition) should reflect the history of the black workers in the US, with elements of the soul jazz. This is the only truly representative composition in the album. It is actually a jazz tone poem depicting the old slave gangs as they did their back-brakeing work of “swinging that hammer”. Driving stakes or laying railroad ties with all the opression and problems the Black race had at that time. Notice the cannon-like sound of the piano which really simulates the blow of a sledge-hammer. This called a “cluster” on the piano. Because of the low register clusters and other rhythm section accents, we get a strong feeling of depression throughout the piece. However, there is a note of hope in the composition which is found in the words of the original melody: “Swing that hammer over your shoulder: get bolder and – BOLDER!”

“Septemberly” is a fusion of two songs: “September in the Rain” goes over into a romatic “Tenderly”. Sub-titled :The Song Of The Thief”, this is, of course, a conscious accusal of musical plagiarism. As Mingus said, “Two composers collect royalties for the same tune”. Eddie has the first melody (September in the Rain) and George has the other (Tenderly). After treating both melodies simultaneously, the arrangement then moves from one section of the first tune to another section of the second tune. The solos are built on the exact chord changes of “September”, but they could just as well have been built on “Tenderly”. On the end of the arrangement you will hear another of Mingus’ new developments on old ideas. In the early days of jazz, the musicians had no planned endings. They would all solo together into some kind of consonant, harmonious ending “a la New Orleans”. For this arrangement we have no ending. We just move together, each in his own way, toward a resolution of the composition. Now, however, with the new jazz idea, we can end with an atonal feeling. Note the beautiful sonority achieved at the end of this composition.

The last song is the standard “All the Things You Are” blended with “Prelude in C-sharp minor”. “All The Things You C-Sharp” Mingus was very aware of similarities in tunes, and, as in one other case in this album, Septemberly, he combines two or three in a composition. Whether intentional or not, this often implies to the listener that one tune was derived or stolen from the other(s). In this case, the combined tunes are “All Things + Prelude” and if you listen carefully to the piano line, “Clair de Lune” The similarity, of course, is the three-note motif that is found in the beginning of “Prelude”, in the introduction on “Things”, and although the melody is different, in the rhythmic idea of “Clair”. The motif is found throughout the composition and gives the piece a well-knit feeling.
**
George Barrow Tenor Sax
Eddie Bert Trombone
Mal Waldron Piano
Charles Mingus Bass
Willie Jones Drums
Max Roach Drums (Percussion Discussion)
**
01. Jump Monk (Charles Mingus) 6:44
02. Serenade In Blue (Gordon/Warren) 5:57
03. Percussion Discussion (Roach) 8:25
04. Work Song (Charles Mingus) 6:16
05. Septemberly (Warren/Dubin and Lawrence/Gross) 6:55
06. All The Things You C-Sharp minor (Kern/ Hammerstein) 6:47
07. Jump Monk (previously unissued alternate take) – 11:53
08. All The Things You C# (previously unissued alternate take) – 10:44
**

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