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Jazz Icons: Charles Mingus Live in '64 (2007)

Jaki Byard , Eric Dolphy  |  NR |  DVD
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Jazz Icons: Charles Mingus Live in '64 + Jazz Icons: John Coltrane Live in '60, '61 & '65 + Jazz Icons: Thelonious Monk Live in '66
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Product Details

  • Actors: Jaki Byard, Eric Dolphy, Dannie Richmond, Charles Mingus, Clifford Jordan
  • Format: Best of, Black & White, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Jazz Icons
  • DVD Release Date: September 4, 2007
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #156,466 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews


"Jazz Icons is doing for jazz what the Criterion Collection has done for classic and important films". -- Jazz Times

Jazz Icons represents the new millennium's most welcome shot in the arm for the music's soul --, October 14, 2007, Gene Seymour

The iconoclast among icons. This DVD gives witness to three of Mingus's finest live performances, with one of his most potent groups on fire. -- Bass Player Magazine, November 2007

Product Description

Jazz Icons: Charles Mingus showcases three exceptional concerts performed in April 1964 featuring his most celebrated lineup--Jaki Byard (piano), Dannie Richmond (drums), Johnny Coles (trumpet), Clifford Jordan (tenor sax) and the great Eric Dolphy (alto sax, flute and bass clarinet). Recorded within an eight-day span, less than three months before Dolphy's death, the three concerts showcase Mingus's visionary leadership and the band's incredible depth and diversity with unique performances and arrangements of classics including "So Long Eric" and the groundbreaking "Meditations On Integration".

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of My Favorite Jazz Icons April 22, 2008
If you've ever been intrigued by the music of Charles Mingus, one of the greatest composers and innovators in the history of jazz, you owe it to yourself to get this DVD. I've already watched it 3 times, and will be enjoying it (and others in this Naxos series) for years to come. The footage, all from Mingus's European tour of 1964, includes a live concert and other performances made for European television. The three venues (Belgium, Norway, and Sweden) were filmed within a one week period. The camera work is quite good, and the quality of the film is certainly OK for its time. You get plenty for your money: the DVD is a full two hours long, much longer than most others in this series.

This group was arguably Mingus's best line-up ever, and the tour was easily one of the high-points in the great bassist's long and productive career. It's a real pleasure to watch this charismatic leader play and interact with his fellow musicians; he was clearly having fun and receiving satisfaction from what this remarkable band was producing. There's plenty of footage of the great Eric Dolphy--much more than on the John Coltrane Jazz Icons DVD. Clifford Jordan, Johnny Coles, Jaki Byard, and Dannie Richmond all play well and are fun to watch. One thing that seems especially notable about this group (besides the collection of talent) is that everyone has a somewhat different style, yet the conglomeration results in some of the most interesting (and complex) jazz music every created by a small group.

Although one might wish for a greater variety of compositions (there are a total of 6), the DVD apparently does include most of the songs the group was playing on this tour. There are 4 different versions of "So Long Eric" and 3 of "Meditations on Integration," but these are performed quite differently and it's interesting to hear the varied arrangements and improvising from venue to venue. In summary: Exhilarating !
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Collective improvisation at its finest September 30, 2008
"Charles Mingus: Live in '64" is one of the strongest entries yet in Naxos' superb Jazz Icons DVD collection. The series features historical concert footage recorded by far-sighted European television stations of some of the biggest names in jazz history. Mingus--certainly one of the four or five most important jazz creators--is captured during his 1964 concert tour in Belgium, Norway and Sweden working with what was arguably his greatest band ever. Multi-reedman Eric Dolphy, tenor saxophonist Clifford Jordan, trumpeter Johnny Coles, pianist Jaki Byard and drummer Dannie Richmond were intuitive and brilliant interpreters of Mingus' unique music, which synthesized blues, gospel, bop, New Orleans traditional and early '60s modernism. (Next to Mingus, Dolphy was the most important artist in this band, as well as the most adventurous, able to adapt to mainstream musical surroundings while seamlessly exploring his own radical directions.) Each musician was also flexible enough to meet the unique demands of their mercurial and unpredictable bandleader. Mingus preferred to communicate his compositions verbally rather than write them down, frequently changed their structure, tempo and duration (often during a performance), and granted a large measure of creative latitude to his band members in bringing his music to life. This approach contributed to the exhilarating, spontaneous quality of his concerts and recordings, and helped ensure that no two versions of the same tune ended up sounding quite the same. In fact, two of Mingus' seminal compositions--"So Long, Eric" and "Meditations on Integration"--are played multiple times on this DVD, yet each performance emerges as a distinct and original incarnation. Read more ›
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Why bother with a DVD of Mingus from the sixties, in black and white? Especially when you have the best of his recorded legacy and have heard it a hundred times? A couple of reasons - firstly, Mr Mingus was a composer, conductor and musician of outstanding excellence whose working methods are best revealed visually at the moment of creation. Of many improvising artists, he is one of the most active and passionate in his methods exhorting, listening deeply, using eyes, hands and body to guide, and providing a model of powerful leadership.
The viewer is witness to a creative process which he sees evolving before his eyes and feels drawn in to it. The gap between performers and viewer seems small indeed. Secondly, those in his band, like those in the various bands of Duke Ellington, are all masters on their respective instrument, and to be a visual and aural witness to their interactions with Mr Mingus is in itself a lesson in musicianship. Mr Byard is a revelation. One small, observation: Mr Mingus appears to have feet as large as another great American, Michael Phelps!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Meditations August 7, 2011
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
The Charles Mingus Live in '64 Jazz Icon DVD is an incredible record of one of the best jazz ensembles to ever play together. When the sextet performed Meditations in Belgium, they played flawlessly, with Eric Dolphy standing out on both flute and bass clarinet and Mingus experimenting with techniques and timbres on bass and with dropping objects onto the piano's strings during the performance. I am so glad to have the DVD so I can study what the ensemble accomplished together musically. It is especially important for me to have a visual record of these last performances of Eric Dolphy's. Since he died in June of 1964, these are precious records of a musical genius whose life was cut short by undiagnosed diabetes.

Jaki Byard sounds amazing on the recordings also. His knowledge of all types of music seeps into his improvisations. One minute he's evoking Jelly Roll Morton and the next Tchaikovsky and Alban Berg, and Asian flavors blossom, too. Clifford Jordan is an understated player, and he's technically precise with a nice tone quality. His way of working fit perfectly with Mingus' overwhelming and fiery personality. Richmond, an ebullient drummer with an obvious love for playing with this group of musicians follows Mingus well and changes the tempi with precision in Meditations. Coles' trumpet playing is also undertstated, yet beautifully expressive. It's clear Miles Davis had a strong influence on his playing with the bending of notes and lovely tone quality.

Eric Dolpy and Mingus are the stars, however. Dolphy blows my mind with his virtuosity on three instruments. His flute playing is lovely and nuanced and when he grabs the bass clarinet another side of him comes to the fore. Pyrotechnics is the word that comes to mind. His alto saxophone playing is equally mind-numbing.

Mingus put together one of the best groups of musicians ever and composed music perfectly suited to their talents.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars its a keeper folks
its a keeper 2 hours of Mingus from 3 different live Europe broadcasts the picture and sound are very good I gave away my Louis Armstrong and Jimmy Smith and Coltrane from this DVD... Read more
Published 20 days ago by harrythompson
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
serial rogue
Published 1 month ago by Gene Russell
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible performances from Mingus' 64 tour
For Mingus fans this DVD is a treat. For one thing it clocks in at two hours, and another the sound quality is simply superb. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Mike Tarrani
5.0 out of 5 stars Jazz Icons: Charles Mingus Live in '64
This was bought as part of a collection I am assembling as a gift for a family member. Outstanding collections can be found on Amazon - which really surprised me. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Heidelberg Amer HS '70s
5.0 out of 5 stars Precious
There cant be much more Mingus video this early & this good of quality. If u love one of the most unique & important artists in recording history..... Get this.
Published 24 months ago by One KING
5.0 out of 5 stars Blown Away!
I'm more of a Coltrane, Miles, Monk fan, but I knew Mingus was a legend, so I rented this knowing nothing
about his 1964 band. Read more
Published on May 23, 2012 by Jacktavish
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, Great, Great!!!
I got the Mingus for myself and ordered the Monk [ASIN:B000H9HWSC Jazz Icons: Thelonious Monk Live in '66]]for my brother, a life long jazz musician. Read more
Published on October 9, 2011 by D. E. Camp
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 entire concerts with Eric Dolphy!
2 hours of video of Mingus w/ Dolphy - need I say more? High quality b&w visuals. Sound lacked punch and good, deep bass, but I'm sure it's because I don't have a home theater... Read more
Published on January 20, 2011 by Terry R. Hall
5.0 out of 5 stars The best jazz band ever during their historical tour
Charles Mingus believed that jazz had lost something essential in the interplay between soloist and ensemble after the development of bebop, so his sextet work was focused on... Read more
Published on July 9, 2010 by Andromeda
5.0 out of 5 stars PROBABLY one of the best jazz dvds on the market
Now,the title of this comment might be a bit tacky; I haven't really seen enough dvds to judge like that, but if you watch this, you'll get carried away as well... Read more
Published on January 13, 2009 by Nikica Gilic
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