- Audio CD (July 17, 2007)
- Number of Discs: 2
- Format: Live, Import
- Label: Blue Note
- ASIN: B000R7G77G
- Average Customer Review: 26 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #164,827 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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Genre: Jazz Music
Media Format: Compact Disk
Release Date: 17-JUL-2007
The band that Charles Mingus, the doyen of jazz's mercurial polymaths, pulled together for his early-1964 European tour was phenomenaland here they are playing 130 minutes worth of live music no ones ever heard. Pianist Jaki Byard, alto saxophonist/flutist/bass clarinetist Eric Dolphy, tenor saxophonist Clifford Jordan, trumpeter Johnny Coles, and longtime drummer Dannie Richmond came together for the Mingus tour knowing that Dolphy would be staying in Europe after their gigshe died tragically just 12 weeks after this gig. And Coles would come perilously close to death himself with a stomach ulcer within a month of the bands Cornell date, forcing him off the tour. So the music here is particularly special and musically resplendent. There is considerable overlap with the The Great Concert of Charles Mingus, but that 2-CD set is sans the ailing Coles, who fattens the sound here: playing beautifully as "Johnny O'Coles" on the unlikely "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling." But Eric Dolphy, his every breath is poetry: from his palpitating bass clarinet on the pugnacious "Fables of Faubus" to the tipsy, whirling flute he plays on "Jitterbug Waltz," a tune he loved playing. The sound here is less crisp than The Great Concert, thick in the middle and ill-defined when it comes to Richmond's drums, leaving the group's interplay like an ear-magnet. "Take the 'A' Train" pays soulful, blossoming homage to Billy Strayhorn even as you can hear the band tightening their grip collectively, learning to fly as a unit. Unheard music of this caliber demands a listen, and here the rewards are bountiful. --Andrew Bartlett
Top customer reviews
Sound quality is very listenable falling somewhere between the 64 Town Hall date and some of the April 64 European bootlegs. For the most part everyone is audible with only the trumpet, piano or bass being lost in the mud at times when the band is playing loudly. Little to no high frequency content overall and Meditations has some dropout, phasing and mid range "swooshing" problems at times but this becomes irrelevant since the music is so good.
One of the things this rhythm section had a strong ability to do was up the ante on an already hard swinging grove and this happens numerous times on these discs where in the middle of someone's solo Byard and Richmond will take Mingus' lead and push the groove up to the next level inspiring the soloist to do sing out and really listen to himself.
Surprisingly we only hear Dolphy on alto on "So Long Eric" during the ensemble passages and even more surprising, he doesn't solo on this piece or it was edited out (although I didn't notice an edit). Dolphy is on bass clarinet or flute for all other selections. I was also surprised at how fully formed the arrangements of these pieces were and how much liberty the group was already taking with them a month before Town Hall and the Europe tour. I was thinking they'd be a bit stiffer than what I was familiar with from three weeks later but that is not the case. A lot of these must have been played regularly at the Five Spot Café prior to this date at Cornell.
Unfortunatly this release will probably not get hyped as much as the Coltrane/Monk Carnegie Hall find a couple of years ago likely because of the cuts being so lengthy and musically dynamic in addition to this group having been heard on previous releases but this is certainly music of the same caliber.
Probably not the best choice for an introduction to Mingus but if you're already into the man's music, you'll want to pick this up.
remarkably clear sound and delivery. Great packaging too.
I had the sense of being right there with Mingus and his group as they played / played off each other and grooved in a number of wild and Mingus-like ways. Sounds / rhythms / riffs / grooves / puns and explorations are all to be found on this wonderful album. Thank God this recording was found (even if posthumously). It is as if Mingus left us all an inheritance - his own gift to the rest of us as reminder of his wonderful sound and the incredible music he made happen several decades ago...