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Charles Mingus: Blues & Roots

Charles Mingus: Blues & Roots

Analogue Productions  CAPA 001 SA

Stereo Hybrid

Jazz


Charles Mingus


Mingus taps blues and roots sources for a joyous swinging outing!

AllMusic marks Charles Mingus' Blues & Roots as a rejoinder to the critical carping that the virtuoso bass player and accomplished jazz pianist and bandleader and his evocative music "somehow didn't swing enough." For this album Mingus turned to the earthiest and earliest sources of black musical expression — blues, gospel, and old-time New Orleans jazz. The resulting album ranks arguably as Mingus' most joyously swinging outing.

Recorded in 1959 and released in 1960, Blues & Roots' birth was explained by Mingus in the album's liner notes: "This record is unusual-it presents only one part of my musical world, the blues. A year ago, Nesuhi Ertegün suggested that I record an entire blues album in the style of 'Haitian Fight Song' (in Atlantic LP 1260), because some people, particularly critics, were saying I didn't swing enough. He wanted to give them a barrage of soul music: churchy, blues, swinging, earthy. I thought it over. I was born swinging and clapped my hands in church as a little boy, but I've grown up and I like to do things other than just swing. But blues can do more than just swing. So I agreed."

Anyone who had heard "Haitian Fight Song" shouldn't have been surprised that such an album was well within Mingus' range. Mingus boosts the complexity of the music by assembling a nine-piece outfit and arranging multiple lines to be played simultaneously — somewhat akin to the Dixieland ensembles of old, but with an acutely modern flavor.

That modern flavor is reinforced and enhanced by the lush Analogue Productions reissue treatment that gives this new version more depth, richer sonic execution and acute audio clarity, particularly in the higher frequencies. Expert mastering from the original master tape by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio direct to DSD makes this Hybrid Stereo SACD sound incredible.

There's no question of Mingus' firm grounding in the basics on Blues & Roots, writes AllMusic, nor of his deeply felt affinity with them. Whether the music is explicitly gospel-based — like the groundbreaking classic "Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting" — or not, the whole album is performed with a churchy fervor that rips through both the exuberant swingers and the aching, mournful slow blues. Still, it's the blues that most prominently inform the feeling of the album, aside from the aforementioned "Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting" and the Jelly Roll Morton tribute "My Jelly Roll Soul."

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Comments (2)

Comment by Steven Harrison - October 14, 2023 (1 of 2)

Atlantic Records 75th Anniversary Series from Acoustic Sounds.
This is the first of many many classic albums.

Comment by Downunderman - December 1, 2023 (2 of 2)

This is the first SACD release in the Atlantic 75th anniversary series with a Catalogue number of CAPA 001 SA.

They have started on a high note here with an excellent album that was well recorded and very well mastered (by Kevin Gray) to DSD from an original analog master tape that has remained in good nick.

Can't really ask for more than that.

You can't go wrong with this title.