CHARLES MINGUS — Mingus at the Bohemia (aka Chazz!)

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CHARLES MINGUS - Mingus at the Bohemia (aka Chazz!) cover
4.00 | 5 ratings | 1 review
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Live album · 1956

Filed under Hard Bop
By CHARLES MINGUS

Tracklist

A1 Jump Monk
A2 Serenade In Blue
A3 Percussion Discussion
B1 Work Song
B2 Septemberly
B3 All The Things You C-Sharp

Total Time: 64:46

CD bonuses:
Jump Monk (11:38) *
All The Things You C# (9:50) (Kern) *

* previously unissued alternate take

Line-up/Musicians

Bass – Charles Mingus
Drums – Max Roach (tracks: A3), Willie Jones (tracks: A1, A2, B1 to B3)
Piano – Mal Waldron
Tenor Saxophone – George Barrow
Trombone – Eddie Bert

About this release

Debut DLP-123(US)

Recorded at Cafe Bohemia, New York City; December 23, 1955

Reissued as "Chazz!" (US, Fantasy – 86002)

Thanks to snobb, js for the updates

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CHARLES MINGUS MINGUS AT THE BOHEMIA (AKA CHAZZ!) reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

js
“Mingus at the Bohemia” comes from a live concert early in Mingus' career and features some of his first originals in the avant-blues style that will come to be the hallmark of his career. Album opener, “Jump Monk”, is driving hard bop with a catchy and insistent arrangement that teeters on the verge of chaos. This tune would go on to be one of Mingus’ most played classics, and it sums up so much of what his career would be about. The other tunes on here are no slouches either, and they present the variety that Mingus was working with. “Serenade in Blue” and “Work Song” continue the hard bop wrapped in interesting arrangements initiated by “Jump Monk”, and “Septemberly” has Mingus combining “September in the Rain” with “Tenderly” in an odd arrangement that has the two horn players each playing one of the tunes simultaneously. Likewise, “All the Things You C Sharp Minor” is an unlikely mix of “All the Things You Are” with a theme from Rachmaninoff, and “Percussion Discussion” is avant-garde third stream chamber music with Mingus on bass and guest Max Roach on percussion. Apparently Charles added a piccolo bass part to this one in the studio. All combined, the tunes on this CD constitute a very imaginative collection of music that was well ahead of its time.

The music on here is great, but the recorded sound is not as great. The horns and drums come in loud and clear, but the bass and piano are low and can almost disappear if you don’t turn it up. This is unfortunate because the virtuoso piano playing of Mal Waldron is the star of the show here. Mal’s ability to fuse blues with humorous extravagances and deconstructionist blunt force mixes well with Mingus’ musical vision, as both seem to draw upon a combination of Ellington, Monk and the new avant-garde. Mal gets to show off his well developed classical chops when he combines the structures of the standard “All the Things You Are”, with a well known Rachmaninoff theme, its one of those typical musician rehearsal jokes that made it to the stage, and it’s a surprisingly clever trick when Mal pulls it off.

Conventional wisdom maintains that the two horn players on here were a bit old school for what Mingus and Waldron were up to, but they both do a great job playing Mingus’ unusual arrangements and plunge right into the spirit. Their solos, particularly trombonist Eddie Bert, are more conventional, but Eddie’s soft swinging style just adds to the interesting incongruities of the entire project. This isn’t Mingus’ best recording, the sound is uneven, his musical vision is not totally unified yet, and his ensemble is not exactly on his same beam, but this is still an interesting and eclectic album for any Mingus fan to own.

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