CHARLES MINGUS — Tijuana Moods (aka Mexican Moods aka New Tijuana Moods) (review)

CHARLES MINGUS — Tijuana Moods (aka Mexican Moods aka New Tijuana Moods) album cover Album · 1962 · Post Bop Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
Sean Trane
It’s never easy for me to really have an overall and accurate picture of Mingus’ music, because his eclectic works kind of defy any easy categorization, and I’m not equally receptive to all of his musical facets, but when it comes to Mingus’ songwriting, it hits the spot.

Ysabel’s Table Dance will indeed transport you over the Mexican border with an exotic music nearing Flamenco sketches, in no small thanks to Shaw’s trumpet. Also of note is the famed Ysabel’s castanets, which add the unmistakably Spanish tinge to the track I can only imagine how such daring musical excavations must’ve shocked the jazz world back then, and even nowadays, it’s still quite daring. And we are almost two years before Miles’ Spanish Sketches.

Over the flipside, the Gift Shop again gives a Latin feel, but this time much more restrained, coupled with a standard jazz feel. You’d expect the Los Mariachis to be even further down the Latin aisle than Ysabel, but it actually starts out pretty standardy, before developing in a typical Mingus madness, with some shouted-out vocals, then a return to bluesy quasi-big-band stuff. The closing Flamingo is a slow-paced with Shaw’s muted trumpet and Knepper’s quiet trombone dominating the debate, but it doesn’t bring much to the overall Mingus scheme.

TM is one of my early Mingus fave album (desoite the later release), because there are some hints of what he would do in Black Saint a few years later, but we’re still quite a few blocks away from that kind of nirvana. I kind of wish there had been more Spanish influence in the present album, such as Ysabel's Table Dance.

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