CHARLES MINGUS — Jazzical Moods, Vol. 1

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CHARLES MINGUS - Jazzical Moods, Vol. 1 cover
4.43 | 4 ratings | 1 review
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Album · 1955

Tracklist

A1 What Is This Thing Called Love?
A2 Stormy Weather
B1 Minor Intrusion
B2 Abstractions

Line-up/Musicians

Alto Saxophone – John La Porta
Bass, Piano – Charles Mingus
Cello – Jackson Wiley
Drums – Clem De Rosa
Tenor Saxophone – Teo Macero
Trumpet – Oliver King (actually Thad Jones)

About this release

Period Records – SPL 1107 (US)

Recorded in New York City; December 1954

Thanks to snobb for the addition and js for the updates

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CHARLES MINGUS VOL. 1 JAZZICAL MOODS reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

js
Apparently the word jazzical is supposed to imply the mixing of jazz and classical music, and in subtle and creative ways, that is what we get on one of Charles Mingus’ earliest recordings, “Jazzical Moods I”. Although some musical elements of “Moods” will appear on later Mingus records, in many ways this short album is very unique in the Mingus discography. The “classical” music that is influential on here is not of the historical variety, but instead reflects the modern harmonies of the time and often sounds like Stravinsky’s later twelve tone influenced works for small ensembles. The jazz on here is likewise modern and abstract, with odd arranged parts coming and going against interplay from soloists who seem to be working with a mix of improvisation and arrangement, although some accounts claim that most, or almost all of this music was written out.

The mixing of concert hall music with jazz is a risky endeavor, and there is plenty of cheezy music out there that is evidence to that fact, but the two genres mix seamlessly on “Jazzical Moods I” into a true hybrid that often features a walking bass that implies jazz, but these pieces could easily be played side by side at a concert with music by Milhaud or the aforementioned Stravinsky. Lots of great playing on here from folks like Thad Jones and Theo Macero, but the real plus is you get to hear Mingus on piano, whose very personal and quirky style lands him in a camp with other odd individualists like Monk and Ellington.

What is referred to as “chamber jazz” these days quite often has nothing to do with real concert hall music, but instead presents a sort of trumped up pop music played with utmost somber seriousness. “Jazzical Moods I”, on the other hand, comes from a time when chamber jazz actually meant a new and experimental combination of current tends in both jazz and concert hall music. For those who have an interest in these early 3rd stream endeavors, “Moods” is better than most, it has some real grit and soul that can sometimes be lacking in composed jazz pieces.

“Jazzical Moods I” is a product of an interesting period in jazz music, experimenters were on their own, trends had yet to be tagged and grouped by the media, and opposite camps had not yet been drawn up in an imaginary war of windmills. You won’t find too many records like this one, not even in Mingus’ discography.

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