CHARLES MINGUS — Jazz Portraits (aka Wonderland aka Jazz Portraits. Mingus In Wonderland)

Jazz music community with review and forums

CHARLES MINGUS - Jazz Portraits (aka Wonderland aka Jazz Portraits. Mingus In Wonderland) cover
4.21 | 6 ratings | 2 reviews
Buy this album from MMA partners

Live album · 1959

Filed under Hard Bop
By CHARLES MINGUS

Tracklist

A1 Nostalgia In Times Square (12:18)
A2 I Can't Get Started (10:08)
B1 No Private Income Blues (12:51)
B2 Alice's Wonderland (8:54)

Total Time: 44:12

Line-up/Musicians

Charles Mingus : Bass.
Brooker Ervin : Tenor Saxophone.
John Handy : Alto Saxophone.
Richard Wyands : Piano.
Dannie Richmond : Drums.

About this release

United Artists Records ‎– UAL 4036 (US)

Recorded live at the Nonagon Art Gallery, New York City on January 16, 1959.

Re-released in 1962 as "Wonderland" (United Artists Jazz ‎– UAJS 15005,1962,US).Released on CD as "Jazz Portraits. Mingus In Wonderland"(Blue Note ‎– CDP 7243 8 27325 2 5,1994,US)

Thanks to snobb, js for the updates

Buy CHARLES MINGUS - JAZZ PORTRAITS (AKA WONDERLAND AKA JAZZ PORTRAITS. MINGUS IN WONDERLAND) music

More places to buy metal & CHARLES MINGUS music

  • CDUniverse - Specializing in the sale of domestic and imported music CDs and Imports

CHARLES MINGUS JAZZ PORTRAITS (AKA WONDERLAND AKA JAZZ PORTRAITS. MINGUS IN WONDERLAND) reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

js
Charles Mingus had many productive years during the first part of his career, but possibly none as productive as 1959. Three of his most acclaimed studio albums come from that year, and maybe that’s why his one live release, “Jazz Portraits“ (also known as “Mingus in Wonderland”), does not get the attention it deserves. “Portraits” may not seem as ambitious as his studio albums, its not a concept album with a unifying theme and an artsy album cover, instead, its just five guys jamming on four tunes, but what they do with those tunes makes this album one of Mingus’ best live dates ever.

“Portraits” opens with the hard bop groove of a Mingus original titled “Nostalgia in Times Square”. Tenor saxophonist Booker Ervin turns in a hot solo, as well as altoist John Handy, and Mingus closes out the solo section with a lengthy exchange between himself and the always inventive percussionist, Dannie Richmond. A cover of “I Can’t Get Started” follows, which Handy covers mostly by himself. Handy’s playing on this one is incredible as he draws on Charlie Parker and hints at the playing Eric Dolphy will soon bring to the band. Handy’s treatment of “Smoke” is sometimes lyrical and passionate, while other times he turns the tune inside out. Its a textbook example of what an inventive artist can do with a well written melody. Mingus also turns in a nice solo on this one.

Third track, “No Private Income Blues”, is a hot jam session that closes with the two saxophonists in an intense battle that merges into a double solo. Their heated exchange and outside lines mirror similar developments from Ornette Coleman and Sun Ra. The album closes with “Alice’s Wonderland”, an excellent Mingus ballad that seems to slightly mirror “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”. Handy turns in another great solo, as does Mingus too. If you are used to ignoring bass solos, Mingus’ playing on here will change that. He handles the bass like its a small acoustic guitar, playing quick nimble lines with perfect intonation, no doubt Mingus was raising the bar for the bassists in jazz for good.

This album is what so much great jazz is all about, five guys standing on their own without any gimmicks, or the safety net of the studio, and showing how they can transform four tunes into streetwise tone poems. It also helps that the recording quality on “Jazz Portraits” is excellent, every instrument is very clear and well balanced. Mingus’ bass sounds like its right there in the room with you.

Members reviews

frankbernardi22
A "classical" jazz record. Even if I should know nothing of that thing called jazz music, I'm sure the right world for all that should be "classical'. Where the adjective don't mean lifeless or frozen or totally and blindly rooted in the past. There is nothing dead in Mingus' "Wonderland" - and that is only one of the names of the record. At the same time covers are different. Very similar the first two, but the third, with a portrait of the Boss with a strange, little bit devilish face? A way to sell more copies? It's with the first graphic solution - we are in 1959 (the famous "Pithecanthropus" was released 3 years before) - that things in the grooves are better explained: Mingus, the pipe, the bass and oil on canvas. We are in an art gallery (Nonagon, NYC): there the record was captured (A. Douglas producer) and the dimension is perfect for 5 players living in the name of love and music, or so it seems. Ervin, Handy, Wyands, Mingus, Richmond. The last one, on drums, has something mildly extravagant and audacious, a mix of Williams and Jones; tenor Ervin and alto Handy seem naturally munificent, while Wyands on piano is a discreet and good friend. In front of the combo, cool and collected comments and handclaps egde the session, while Mingus, placed on right - centre gives musical orders to his men. Go and buy if you hate strange surprises, go the same if you are an intelligent son of nostalgia, and if you want to listen to the spectacular technicolored play of "No private income blues": bass'n'drums melted together to form a perfect wall of sound. Soul, technique, pleasure: it's all timeless, it's surely classic at its peak while sure footed innovation lies in the bends.

Ratings only

  • Anster
  • talha
  • Sean Trane
  • richby

Write/edit review

You must be logged in to write or edit review

JMA TOP 5 Jazz ALBUMS

Rating by members, ranked by custom algorithm
Albums with 30 ratings and more
A Love Supreme Post Bop
JOHN COLTRANE
Buy this album from our partners
Kind of Blue Cool Jazz
MILES DAVIS
Buy this album from our partners
The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady Progressive Big Band
CHARLES MINGUS
Buy this album from our partners
Blue Train Hard Bop
JOHN COLTRANE
Buy this album from our partners
My Favorite Things Hard Bop
JOHN COLTRANE
Buy this album from our partners

New Jazz Artists

New Jazz Releases

Jumping Off The Sun Jazz Related Rock
COLOSSEUM/COLOSSEUM II
Buy this album from MMA partners
We Are RnB
JONATHAN BATISTE
Buy this album from MMA partners
I Need You RnB
JONATHAN BATISTE
Buy this album from MMA partners
Bring Backs Nu Jazz
ALFA MIST
Buy this album from MMA partners
More new releases

New Jazz Online Videos

The Front Line
KENNY BURRELL
snobb· 17 hours ago
Jon Batiste - I NEED YOU
JONATHAN BATISTE
snobb· 1 day ago
Get up off Your Knees
TRIBE
js· 1 day ago
All By Myself
MIKE JONES
js· 2 days ago
Fugue from "The Endless Enigma"
DAVID KIKOSKI
js· 2 days ago
More videos

New JMA Jazz Forum Topics

More in the forums

New Site interactions

More...

Latest Jazz News

members-submitted

More in the forums

Social Media

Follow us