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Charles Mingus in Paris: The Complete America Recordings

Audio CD

5.0 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 22, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

This was recorded on October 31st 1970 in a single, sleepless night, the fleeting space of a session that took place almost undetected, and in a sort of urgent calm. The scene was a deserted Decca studio on the rue Beaujon, a stone's throw from the Champs-Élysées. From both a historical and a musical standpoint, this unexpected session it was anything but premeditated undeniably stands apart in the bassist's work; originally released as two records (Pithycanthropus Erectus and Blue Bird), and here reissued for the first time in its entire, intimate dramaturgy, the recordings constitute precious and moving testimony to one of the least-documented periods of his exceptional career; with hindsight, it was a period that saw the decisive moment when, after years of doubt and silence, Mingus found a new confidence, and his faith in his music; it was the instant when he began his final, creative resurrection.

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Thankfully, the brains behind this double-disc reissue of two almost forgotten 1970 sessions determined that the first CD should be simply the six tracks originally released on the America label. The false starts and incomplete and alternate takes are left for the second disc. This way, the album closes properly -- in a fit of passion, with Mingus's sextet spinning intense yarns out of "Pithecanthropus Erectus," a tune un-recorded in the studio since 1956. Here, Jaki Byard gets a midnight solo, wobbling on the rails between his well-known clustering talent and his deeply lyrical bent. Bobby Jones on tenor, Charles McPherson on alto, and Eddie Preston on trumpet offer a variety of predispositions, mostly post-bop but certainly aware of the tonal advances Eric Dolphy made with Mingus. "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" is lovely, slightly tense – which helps with the drama, and "Peggy's Blue Skylight" is dynamic and lazily vigorous. As for the second disc, it's instructional in how Mingus the bandleader thought and led: beyond that, it's for the initiates only. Keep in mind that these tunes comprise the first studio album Mingus made after Mingus, Mingus, Mingus, Mingus, Mingus and show the bassist returning to the forge, readying himself for the great stuff yet to come with George Adams and Don Pullen. --Andrew Bartlett

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Product details

  • Audio CD (May 22, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Sunny Side
  • ASIN: B000P46QC2
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #285,306 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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