Weird Nightmare: Meditations on Mingus
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Top Customer Reviews
The disparate elements that went into the making of this album are ingenously combined by Willner into a multifaceted CD that is a truthful reflection of Charles Mingus' complex and self-contradictory personality and music. On top of that this record is also quite entertaining, highly musical and even moving in places. Not for the faint of heart or musical purists.
These musicians were charged with honoring Mingus through some very loose, highly improvisational arrangements of his works. And here's the kicker: many of the instruments used on this recording were created by avant-garde composer Harry Partch. Additionally, band instruments like the tuba and the clarinet (which would have been much more likely at a Mingus studio session) and some electrified instruments round out the eclectic sounds that weave in and out of this musical tapestry.
Mingus, an accomplished poet and writer as well as an upright bassist (in either sense of the word), finds his spoken art highlighted as well, both faithfully and in spirit. The point of Weird Nightmare is not so much to create a jazz album, but to create over an hour-long aural experience in the spirit of Mingus' forward-thinking compositional experimentation. It's pretty damn successful on all counts, and a good candidate for some headphone listening on a warm autumn morning with your eyes closed.
It's a travelogue of styles, from Tin Pan Alley to the Far East, the Mississippi Delta to the infamous Coconut Grove jazz club. This bit of musical theater has a fairly stellar cast of supporting characters, including the likes of Bill Frisell, Robbie Robertson, Charlie Watts, Diamanda Galas, Robert Quine, Keith Richards, Marc Ribot, Tony Trischka, and The Kinks' Ray Davies. I found mine in the bargain bin.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Simply fantastic. Not a weak interpretation in the lot.Published 15 months ago by George F. D. Marial
Ever wonder what Charles Mingus' music sounds like played on instruments invented by the composer and instrument builder Harry Partch. This is it. Read morePublished on October 10, 2013 by John W. Empfield
I have been listening to this album at least once a month since 1999, and I never get sick of it. Mingus is one of music's great geniuses - and oddly, it was this album that... Read morePublished on July 13, 2013 by Jane R
As if Mingus is not considered weird enough by most folks (let us hope that is hyperbole), along comes Hal Wilner and produces a collection of meditations (tribute covers) to the... Read morePublished on May 15, 2013 by Axis and his Bold Love
Definitely an acquired taste. Hal Willner gathers his various forces and minions and applies their considerable talents to some of the 20th Century's greatest music. Read morePublished on September 11, 2012 by Bold As Love
Certainly intriguing for a cover album, the constant creative liberties taken may be in the spirit of Mingus's triumphant diversity and eccentric compositions but feels flimsily... Read morePublished on January 2, 2010 by IRate
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