Charles Mingus: Mingus, Mingus, Mingus, Mingus, Mingus
Analogue Productions CIPJ 54 SA
Charles Mingus (bass, piano, vocals)
Jay Berliner (guitar)
Don Butterfield (trombone, tuba)
Jaki Byard (piano)
Eric Dolphy (flute, alto saxophone)
Rolf Ericson, Eddie Preston & Richard Gene Williams (trumpets)
Booker Ervin (tenor saxophone)
Dick Hafer (clarinet, flute, oboe, tenor saxophone)
Quentin Jackson & Britt Woodman (trombones)
Charlie Mariano (alto saxophone)
Walter Perkins & Dannie Richmond (drums)
Jerome Richardson (flute, baritone saxophone, soprano saxophone)
Produced by Impulse! A&R director Bob Thiele in 1963, this recording is a major showcase of the talented Charles Mingus as a bassist, pianist and writer. In his 1963 original liner notes, critic-at-large Nat Hentoff said that of all the musicians, it is impossible to remain indifferent to Mingus. This recording more than any other testifies to Hentoff's claim. More so today than in 60's, there is truly only one Mingus, Mingus, Mingus, Mingus, Mingus.
Originally released in 1963.
Mastered by Kevin Gray.
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Review by Mark Werlin - August 9, 2021
Throughout the course of his career, Charles Mingus revised his older compositions. The poignant “Reincarnation of a Lovebird”, first recorded in 1957 for Atlantic, underwent significant reappraisal in three different arrangements recorded in the 1960 Nat Hentoff sessions for the Candid label. Perhaps the definitive version is on the 1970 album recorded by the French label America Records.
The second 1963 Impulse album in collaboration with Bob Hammer provided Mingus with the opportunity to revisit these compositions:
"II B.S." ("Haitian Fight Song" originally on The Clown); "I X Love" ("Duke's Choice" originally on A Modern Jazz Symposium of Music and Poetry); "Celia" (“Celia” originally on East Coasting); "Better Get Hit in Yo' Soul" ("Better Git It in Your Soul" originally on Mingus Ah Um); "Theme for Lester Young" ("Goodbye Pork Pie Hat" originally on Mingus Ah Um); and "Hora Decubitus" ("E's Flat, Ah's Flat Too" originally on Blues & Roots).
The earlier performances are not surpassed, but the audio quality of the Impulse sessions certainly improves on the limitations of the Atlantic and Bethlehem sessions. John Handy’s solo on the 1959 Columbia version of “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat” lingers in the memory like a spectral trace underneath Booker Ervin’s soulful 1963 session solo; both versions convey Mingus’ grief, which prompted the composition of the tune, but the earlier recording was done closer to the death of Lester Young and has a mournful depth that the later version does not achieve. The choice of Charlie Mariano over Eric Dolphy as the alto soloist takes the music back a few steps from the progressive 1960 Nat Hentoff sessions. The ill-fated 1964 band with Eric Dolphy was not recorded properly in a studio, and the death of Eric at the end of that European tour sent Mingus into a spiral of depression, rage and despair from which he would not emerge until the beginning of the next decade. This album was the calm before that storm, and it is fortunate that producer Bob Thiele and arranger Bob Hammer were at the helm.
Verve Music Group remastered the Impulse album for release in a 24/96 download. Comparison of the 24/96 files and the AP SACD is favorable to both releases. The tape is clearly the same; you can hear brief distortion at 1:34 into “I X Love” in both versions, but otherwise the sound quality is excellent. Engineer Bob Simpson captured a level of intensity and dynamic range that went to the limits of analogue technology of the era.
The AP SACD was remastered by Kevin Gray, and is a must-have for collectors if it can be found at a reasonable price.
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