Blues & Roots Import
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Blues & Roots
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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.
"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.Read more ›
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.
"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.)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Had this album been released in 1959 instead of languishing in Atlantic's vault for a year it may well have been ranked up there with Ah Um. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Mike Tarrani
Done a few months before the more refined "Mingus Ah UM" on Columbia, this Atlantic release has some of the same players that were on that disc like John Handy, Horace... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Dennis W. Wong
Blues & Roots, to me, is what Mingus is all about. Based on Blues and Gospel, this CD has all of The Mingus fundamentals. Read morePublished on May 4, 2013 by James Lockwood
I am ashamedly, but admittedly, ignorant when it comes to jazz. I happened across this album on Spotify and decided I just had to have it. Read morePublished on April 13, 2013 by anthony w cuomo
Charles Mingus is one of the all time greats of the Jazz scene, an incredible bassist, pianist, composer, arranger, band leader, truly one of the top creative voices of the Jazz... Read morePublished on February 28, 2011 by John R. Nolan
Absolute 5 stars Jazz. No explanation neded. Beautifully packaged and with superior sound in comparison to previous releases, this "Blues & Roots" is simply a must. Read morePublished on November 26, 2010 by M. M. S. Nico
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