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Ah Um Extra tracks, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered

4.8 out of 5 stars 121 customer reviews

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Mingus Ah Um
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Audio CD, Extra tracks, Original recording reissued, February 9, 1999
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Product Description

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Genre: Jazz Music
Media Format: Compact Disk
Rating:
Release Date: 16-FEB-1999

Amazon.com

Mercurial bassist and bandleader Charles Mingus was signed to Columbia Records for the briefest of time during 1959. His Columbia recordings, however, remain some of the most inspired, mood-jumping jazz in history. The flowing sadness of "Goodbye Porkpie Hat" (unedited here for the first time on CD!) rings like a funeral chorus that pitches headlong into a celebration of Lester Young's life and improvising flexibility, rather than his death. And there's the funky furnace blast of "Boogie Stop Shuffle" (also unedited!), which reaches its glory with Booker Ervin's Texas tenor sax, wrapped tight in bluesy tone. With the index of emotions captured, these songs nail why Mingus is possibly the most relevant jazzer for the '90s generation. He swings and shouts and hollers and somersaults. His tunes either induce foot-stomping with their intensity or reach for poignant yearning with their lyrical tapestry of orchestral colors. --Andrew Bartlett
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 9, 1999)
  • Rmst ed. edition
  • Original Release Date: February 9, 1999
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Extra tracks, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Sony Legacy
  • Run Time: 72 minutes
  • ASIN: B00000I14Z
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (121 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,288 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Michael Stack VINE VOICE on August 16, 2005
Format: Audio CD
In 1959, Charles Mingus was at the height of his powers-- in the midst of a roll from a stream of fine music on Atlantic, he signed to Columbia and delivered his first album in early 1959, "Mingus Ah Um". Perhaps the best album Mingus ever recorded, Mingus augments his working band (saxaphonists John Handy and Booker Ervin, pianist Horace Parlan, and drummer Dannie Richmond) with reedman Shafi Hadi and either trombonist Willie Dennis or Jimmy Knepper, and produced an album of such startling variety and briliant performance that it demands attention.

To this day, when someone curious about Mingus' music asks me for a recommendation, without hesitation, I immediately suggest this album. From the opener, it all works-- Mingus' racing "Better Git It In Your Soul" is a gospel shout masked as a jazz piece-- featuring the leader on rambling vocals, a gospel shout theme, a jaw dropping solo by Booker Ervin (under which the rest of the band claps rhythm) and just stunning and sensitive drumwork from Richmond that puts the exclamation mark on the piece-- this really is about half of what Mingus has to offer as a musician. The other half comes in funereal ballad "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat", second track on the album. A tribute to departed saxophonist Lester Young, Mingus evokes raw mourning in his sax line, and Handy's solo and Mingus' support of it are nothing short of astonishing (check Mingus' echo of Handy's fluttering for evidence of this).

By the time you've finished these two tracks, if it's not working for you, Mingus probably isn't for you, and the rest of the record isn't going to change anything.
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Format: Audio CD
The first track says it all: "Better get it into Your Soul." This is soul-stirring, head-thumping, body-shaking stuff. Insistent, penetrating, simply inspired. Hard to compare it to anything, really, although it has elements of bebop, blues, gospel, and that crazy no-holds-barred spirit of funk. One of my top ten jazz cuts.
The famous "Goodbye Porkpie Hat," a tribute to Lester Young, is a quieter blues-based piece, centered around soulfully played sax. Emotionally, it's both sad and affectionate. "Boogie Stop Shuffle" sounds like the soundtrack to some weird 60's spy movie --with Mingus, expect the unexpected! Excellent piano by Horace L. Parlan, Jr. driven along by the lionesque Mingus on bass. Self-portrait in "Three Colors" and "Open Letter to Duke" feature brilliant Ellingtonian arrangements and warm colors. The latter piece has superb boppish sax-riffs, settles into a richly colored niche, and then breaks into some rhythmic and melodic audacity.
Mingus' brilliant, daring "Fables of Faubus" retains its mocking tone, but is less political than the vocal version on the magnificent "Live at Antibes." It's an interesting contrast to his bold (courageous, even) attack on Governor Faubus in the live version, and, again, shows Ellington's influence in its beautifully complex arrangement. "Pussy Cat Dues" and "Jelly Roll" deliver a New Orleans laid-back sound. On `Dues,' Mingus lays down some languid, monumental bass effects. It's thick luxurious sleaze, sliced through with the purity and strength of the sax.
One of the best of the studio albums, although, frankly, I like them all. An innovator, an explorer, a trailblazer, he is truly a genius. You'll find more and more to appreciate with every listening. Most highly recommended to the Mingus fan as well as the most hesitant newcomer
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Format: Audio CD
i admit it...charles mingus has always intimidated me...i have other music by him, a live disc that even his die-hard fans have criticized and a compilation of blues and ballads that i only enjoy in spurts...
...nothing that i have bragged about to others...just kinda ho-hum...
but mingus has always remained one of those musicians that i have felt compelled to dig into to find out what all of the fuss was about...i'm glad i kept diggin and didnt stop with those other recordings because this is some truly enjoyable music being played here! for those of yall with similar encounters with mingus as i, or if you are just looking for that first album of his for you to get into, then let me recommend this one for you; you'll either be satisfied and stop with this purchase or very pleased and urged (as i) to dig deeper into his other classics...
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is pure 1950s Jazz, the kind that makes you feel like a filterless cigarette might be a good idea.
The playing is flawless, the recording sterling, the swing endless.
If I have one complaint here, it is Mingus's bass being hidden in a forest of other superb players. The first few bars of the record, just Mingus on bass, then piano, then horns and the rest, had me eager for a bass-heavy experience. It's all great stuff, but I wanted to hear the standup.
This is a classic that any Jazz fan should own.
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Format: Audio CD
i always knew that Mingus was great...but it was not something that i could attest to through personal experience. i had seen the light that was Coltrane, Davis, Sun Ra, Dolphy...but Mingus' masterpieces somehow eluded me. probably due to the fact that i just simply did not take the time to check them out. well, i picked up Mingus Ah Um (finally)...and it all rang true. not only was this man an excellent bass player, but a true genius in composing. his music shines bright with a broad range of feeling and emotion. the righteous anger is present within the notes...anger that boiled hot over the shakey political/cultural climate of the times. but the music's fire is stoked by coals of passion and sincerity, jazz morphs into the blues and swings into melodies so alive and free that they can't be denied in their originality and greatness. i've been listening to this album only about 10 times and i'm still finding new things revealed to me with each spin. Mingus' vision grows deeper and more profound each time around. and there's so much more to explore and discover.
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