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Tonight at Noon

4.0 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Audio CD, March 26, 2002
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

On "Tonight at Noon. . .Three or Four Shades of Love," not only is the CD an extraordinary 10-piece collection of Mingus tunes focused on the theme of love, but it also marks the recording debut of the Charles Mingus Orchestra (on four tracks). In addition, omni-pop singer Elvis Costello performs an exhilarating take on the Mingus composition "Invisible Lady" that he recently penned lyrics to. The recording marks the 80th anniversary of the composer’s birth and will be released at the same time as Sue Mingus’ exquisitely written memoir of her life with Charles. Tonight at Noon: A Love Story is published by Pantheon Books.

MINGUS BIG BAND: Johnathan Blake - Drums & Tambourine Seamus Blake - Tenor Sax Randy Brecker - Trumpet Ronnie Cuber - Bass Sax Wayne Escoffery - Tenor Sax Alex Foster - Alto Sax, Soprano Sax, Flute & clarinet Ku-umba Frank Lacy - Trombone & Vocals Earl Gardner - Trumpet Craig Handy - Tenor Sax Vincent Herring - Alto Sax & Soprano Sax Conrad Herwig - Trombone David Kikoski - Piano Boris kozlov - Bass Earl McIntyre - Baritone Tuba & Tenor Trombone Andy McKee - Bass Jeremy Pelt - Trumpet Kenny Rampton - Trumpet Jaleel Shaw - Alto Sax Alex Sipiagin - Trumpet John Stubblefield - Tenor Sax Dave Taylor - Bass Trombone & Tuba

CHARLES MINGUS ORCHESTRA: Seamus Blake - Soprano Sax Alex Foster - Alto Sax Conrad Herwig - Trombone David Kikoski - Piano Boris Kozlov - Bass Michael Rabinowitz - Basoon Scott Robinson - Flute

Adam Rogers - Guitar Robert Routch - French Horn Alex Sipiagin - Trumpet Jeff "Tain" Watts - Drums Douglas Yates - Bass clarinet Elvis Costello - Vocals on "Invisible Lady"

Producer - Sue Mingus

Amazon.com

The Mingus Big Band, who have lost a little of their edge on their past couple of albums, introduce a few wrinkles on this effort--which, as all its predecessors do, consists of compositions by the late and great Charles Mingus. On four consecutive tunes, the band expands to the 11-piece Charles Mingus Orchestra, a bottom-enhancing unit that includes French horn, bassoon, and bass clarinet. The finale is a partial reading of the neglected extended masterpiece "The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady" (1963). On the '60s-derived song "Invisible Lady," genre-hopping rocker Elvis Costello sings his own lyrics. Costello is less than a natural in this setting, both as a vocalist and as an overly poetic wordsmith. The orchestra, however, which makes its recorded debut, breathes burnished truth into songs such as "Eclipse." The 17-minute "Black Saint" excerpt, arranged as are many of the songs by trusty Mingus veteran Sy Johnson, is no substitute for the gripping original, but handles the ebbs, flows, and episodic shifts with élan. As a whole, Tonight at Noon succeeds in casting appreciative light on Mingus's melodic-reflective side while managing to incorporate the earthiness that so strongly defined him. --Lloyd Sachs
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 26, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Dreyfus
  • ASIN: B000063IUZ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #434,073 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I never have been totally convinced by many of the Mingus 'ghost band' recordings. Something missing. I think they finally put it together here, capturing the lyrical sensuality and ominous edge.
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I think Lloyd Sachs review above is a bit misguided. This is a great CD, LIKE ALL MINGUS BIG BAND CDs!! The Mingus Big Band never lost its edge and this is another great CD to add to their catalogue. The Mingus Orchestra does indeed add a wonderful touch to this CD with much different orchestration than the big band. For instance, the guitar parts on "Eclipse" are wonderful and surprising. What's great about this album is that it compiles compositions from all throughout Mingus' brilliant career based around the theme of love. If you've read anything regarding Mingus, you know that he had a very complex experience and take on love. Equally, these compositions are complex. It's nice to hear the Big Band attempt "Black Saint". Nothing lives up to the original but this arrangment shows great respect for it. Elvis Costello's lyrics to "Invisible Lady" are interesting and make me view the song in a whole new light. Other stand outs are "Devil Woman" and "Passions of a Woman Loved". If you love Mingus...Get this disc.
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Format: Audio CD
Of the three MBB CDs I own, this one is my least favorite. However, note that I gave it four stars so it is still a very fine album. Eclipse is the best thing on this CD, Black Saint & Sinner Lady is awfully good and Sweet Sucker Dance is lovely; but Elvis Costello's contributions on Invisible Lady just didn't do it for me. Sorry, Elvis, I love you but.... I call this a valiant effort but (sadly) a miss. Frank Lacy's vocal on Devil Woman did not do much for me either.

I really wanted to give this one five stars, but it seemed to me there was something missing, despite some excellent moments and - as usual - top notch musicianship.
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Format: Audio CD
This CD is as good as any session this band has previously recorded, save possibly Times Square. It is fresh, compelling, and full of great musicianship. And Elvis Costello's "Beautiful Lady" is perfect: not too much EC but a fine add. If you like this band, add this one to the collection with little hesitation.
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