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Cornell 1964 Live, Import

4.7 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Live, Import, July 17, 2007
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Product Description

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Genre: Jazz Music
Media Format: Compact Disk
Rating:
Release Date: 17-JUL-2007

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The band that Charles Mingus, the doyen of jazz's mercurial polymaths, pulled together for his early-1964 European tour was phenomenal—and here they are playing 130 minutes worth of live music no one’s 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 gigs—he 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 band’s 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
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 17, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Live, Import
  • Label: Blue Note
  • ASIN: B000R7G77G
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #74,897 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Michael Leddy on July 25, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Like the 2005 releases Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall and Town Hall, New York City, June 22, 1945 (Dizzy Gillespie/Charlie Parker), Cornell 1964 is a newly-discovered concert recording. And as with those 2005 releases, the performance just happens to be extraordinary. I'm past the two-dozen mark when it comes to buying Mingus recordings, and I think that Cornell 1964 is the most exciting Mingus music I've heard.

What a concert those lucky students were given:

"ATFW You": Jaki Byard's fleet, witty parade of Art Tatumisms and Fats Wallerisms.

"Sophisticated Lady": for bass. Mingus never stopped paying tribute to Duke Ellington.

"Fables of Faubus": A Weillian send-up of Orval Faubus, segregationist governor of Arkansas. The lyrics here are, alas, inaudible. (A sample: "Two, four, six, eight, they brainwash and teach you hate.") A very lengthy "Fables," dipping into various streams of musical Americana along the way. Here, as elsewhere, Mingus and Richmond are the most inventive bass-and-drums pairing in jazz, changing tempos and textures and thereby pushing soloists to dig deeper: the rhythm section as personal trainer.

"Orange Was the Color Of Her Dress, Then Blue Silk": One of Mingus's most beautiful compositions, with overtones of Ellington, "Blues in the Night," and "Body and Soul."

"Take the 'A' Train": I think that it's here that everything rises to a very high level of energy. As Clifford Jordan begins his second chorus, Mingus calls to Johnny Coles and Eric Dolphy: "Join in," and the band takes off. Jordan is the great surprise on this performance and on the rest of the recording, playing with greater intensity and freedom than on the European tour recordings (or at least the ones that I've heard).
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By Jazzy V. on November 28, 2008
Format: Audio CD
This is a brilliant, magnificent, previously unreleased and recently discovered recording of Charles Mingus's greatest band - or at least one of them - playing live at Cornell University, shortly before the European tour, in March 1964.
The music is scorchingly good, endlessly inventive, full of surprises and played with a fire that only rarely makes it onto record.
The only caveat is that the remarkable sextet in question was extensively documented, performing much the same repertoire. It included Eric Dolphy - one of the supreme jazz figures of the era - on flute, alto and bass clarinet in towering form throughout on extended versions of "Fable of Faubus" and "Meditations", but the rest of the group are not far behind.
If you don't already know mid-'60s Mingus, this double CD is an excellent place to begin. The band, which also boasted Jaki Byard on piano, Johnny Coles trumpet, and Clifford Jordan, tenor, was evidently feeling euphoric that night and the sound is excellent.
And then there's Mingus himself, playing at the top of his form.
Even those who already have a row of recordings by this very ensemble may be tempted by, for example, the wild, impromptu version of "When Irish Eyes are Smiling" played by Mingus for the first and last time in honour of St Patrick's Day.
Unmissable.
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Format: Audio CD
This CD is one of those 'long lost' live jazz discs that've popped up recently. Mingus' 1964 concerts were fairly well documented, and this is another to add to the list. The CD opens up with two solos - Jaki Byard plays a solo spot, and Mingus plays a bass solo (with some soft piano in the background). These are okay, the bass isn't recorded as well as I'd like for a solo spot, but not the main point of the show. With the full band, Mingus tears up "Fables Of Faubus". It's long, but not one of those songs you wish they'd end. "Orange Was The Color..." has some very good moments, but in the second rank of this show. "Take The 'A' Train" is very good - Ellington was Mingus' favorite to cover. The second disc starts with "Meditations", which is a long complex piece, but very good. "So Long Eric" has good, but also wandering, moments. "When Irish Eyes" has a spoken intro that gets laughs (though it's hard to hear the dialogue), but the music is another second-ranker. "Jitterbug Waltz" has some great Dolphy flute, and brings things to a close. Overall, it's a very good disc. It's not as good as "Mingus At Antibes", and I've heard the 1964 Paris concert CD is better than this one.

One of the notable things is that Mingus and company are in a very good mood. During a Dannie Richmond drum solo there a waves of laughter coming from the audience. It's a shame there isn't a video that'd show why. Mingus's stage patter also gets laughs. Everyone in the band also throws in musical quotes from all over the place. In addition to jazz quotes, there are bits of children's, folk, and popular songs. This is recommended for all Mingus fans and anyone looking for a good jazz concert CD.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
If you're already heavy into Mingus and enjoy the "April 1964" sextet you'll have to get this. The performance is inspired and joyful and everyone in the band is given ample room to contribute. Those familiar with the Town Hall date that followed in April and the European tour after that will know most of these titles and their arrangements for this group. Somewhat less familiar will be a driving version of Dukes "A-Train" and a real surprise in a cruising performance of Jitterbug waltz that gives Dolpy a chance to blow over some up tempo changes on his flute which he does very well indeed.

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.
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