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 composers 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
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