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Blues & Roots Import

37 customer reviews

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Blues & Roots
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Audio CD, Import, July 7, 1987
$7.68 $0.32

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 7, 1987)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Imports
  • ASIN: B000002I4Q
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #199,072 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By karl goltos on July 12, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Technically difficult music that drips with rhythm and soul - The ultimate jazz album? You betcha! Similiar to Ah Um, this record stands the test of 100s of listenings because of its amazing musicianship and beautifully-complex compositions. On every song it seems, you hear one perfect, funky line by one instrument, which is then combined with another completely different melody by another...and another and another, until you have 10 players soloing over each other without stepping on toes. Its a prayer meetin' with brains! The extra tracks are great, but are in mono (good quality mono though). Buy this now!
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By spoonyjoefromdownbelow on May 15, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Click on "listen" next to "Moanin" above. That's all you need to do.

The first time I heard Mingus wail in the background of that song, my heart sprang up out my throat. I haven't seen it since.

Now try "Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting."

While you're at it, you might as well check out the rest, but keep in mind that these songs have twists and turns that can only be experienced when you hear the entire song. You might as well just buy the CD. You can thank me later.
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35 of 41 people found the following review helpful By M. Allen Greenbaum HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on March 16, 2001
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This album is similar in feeling to the great "Mingus Ah Um." Overall, it highlights Mingus' blues/gospel influences. "Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting," (5:39) for example, in the tradition of songs like "Better Git It Into Your Soul"("Mingus Ah Um") and "Slop ("Mingus Dynasty")." Unfortunately, this driving piece is flawed by (the otherwise-excellent) Horace Parlan's repetitive piano--for a few seconds it seemed like the CD was stuck. The song is rooted in a deep mix of trombone (Willie Dennis), tenor sax (the amazing Booker Ervin), and bass, and punctuated by Mingus' trademark shouts.
"Cryin' Blues is also steeped in Mingus' bass (excellent solo work and well-recorded) and the soulful anchor of Pepper Adams' baritone sax. Parlan lays down some bluesy riffs and Jackie McLean leads the way home with his solo on this five-minute cut. "Moanin'" (7:57) and "Tensions" (6:27) are blues-oriented pieces, dominated by Mingus' intense, virtuoso bass, a strong solo by Ervin, and fiery ensemble playing.
"My Jelly Roll Soul" (6:47) is a light, zesty, and almost tongue-in-cheek cut inspired by early jazz pianist Jelly Roll Morton. Dannie Richmond lays down some brushwork and other flourishes. "E's Flat Ah's Flat Too (6:37) is kind of an amalgamation of the previous cuts, with Mal Waldron taking over on piano. Mingus' compositions and bass playing are the highlights here There's not quite as much solo work by the other musicians compared to other Mingus albums, although there's enough to keep things lively and interesting. I don't have the original CD, but I didn't notice anything exceptional about the remastering except to note that Mingus is recorded very well. I mention this only because there's another slightly more expensive "Blues and Roots" available at Amazon.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By N. Dorward on January 19, 2003
Format: Audio CD
While this isn't quite in the front rank of Mingus albums--_Mingus Ah Um_, recorded with a similarly-constituted band for Columbia, is a much more ambitious & wide-ranging album--_Blues & Roots_ is nonetheless a characteristically powerful & tempestuous recording by the bassist. His curious habit of constantly reworking compositions, pet chord progressions, phrases & ideas is strongly evident here--perhaps a little too strongly: "Moanin'" & "E's Flat Ah's Flat Too", in particular, are identically structured musical rounds built up over Pepper Adams' full-tilt baritone riffs. "Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting" & "My Jelly Roll Soul" are also worth cross-referencing to performances on other Mingus albums of the period.
The ten-strong band on here is superb--Jackie McLean, Booker Ervin, Jimmy Knepper, John Handy, Pepper Adams, Horace Parlam & Mal Waldron..... A special word for Willie Dennis, a tragically short-lived trombonist who never recorded much in his lifetime but was a truly astonishing musician--check out Ronnie Ball's (deleted, but not hard to find) Savoy disc with Dennis & Ted Brown in the front line for a rare extended sample of Dennis's improvisational powers. On _Blues & Roots_, alas, he only gets the briefest of look-ins.
A fine, very enjoyable album: give it a listen.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By G B on August 13, 2006
Format: Audio CD
This is one of the all-time great Mingus albums, recorded around the same time as the better-known Mingus Ah Um. There's enough of a similarity between them that fans of one will almost certainly like the other, but they each have a different focus. Ah Um is a great introduction to Mingus's scope as a composer; Blues & Roots is more narrow, focusing on grittier material influenced by gospel and the blues. Blues & Roots also has a slightly larger ensemble than Ah Um, with two trombones and four saxophones present on each track.

"Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting" starts things off. Though quite similar to "You'd Better Git It in Your Soul", its melody is more simple. However, the ensemble playing is white hot and Booker Ervin takes another one of his "sermon" solos over handclaps. "Cryin' Blues" is the shortest track and features intense playing by Jackie McLean. "Moanin'", my personal favorite on the album, begins with a naaaaaaaasty baritone riff by Pepper Adams that slowly expands into raucous collective improvisation by the group. "Tensions" is a similar tune, though at a slightly lower temperature. "My Jelly Roll Soul" is almost exactly the same tune as "Jelly Roll" from Ah Um. "E's Flat Ah's Flat Too" (recorded elsewhere as "Hora Decubitus") closes the album with a blistering, swinging ride.

The strength of the album, besides the memorable riff-based compositions, is the blending of collective improvisation with strong solo performances. Ervin, McLean, Adams, John Handy, Jimmy Knepper and Willie Dennis are the perfect frontline for this kind of mix, and Mingus is just the right "conductor" to kick things along. If you like Mingus, or are merely curious about his music, Blues & Roots is essential listening.

(One caveat: the sound on this deluxe edition, as on most Atlantic jazz albums from this period, is terrible.)
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