CHARLES MINGUS — The Charles Mingus Quintet + Max Roach

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3.05 | 3 ratings | 1 review
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Live album · 1964

Filed under Hard Bop
By CHARLES MINGUS

Tracklist

A1 A Foggy Day 5:35
A2 Drums 5:25
A3 Haitian Fight Song 5:20
A4 Lady Bird 6:00
B1 I'll Remember April 13:20
B2 Love Chant 7:35

Total Time: 43:15

Line-up/Musicians

Bass – Charles Mingus
Drums – Max Roach (tracks: A2, B1), Willie Jones (tracks: A1, A3, A4, B2)
Piano – Mal Waldron
Tenor Saxophone – George Barrow
Trombone – Eddie Bert

About this release

Fantasy ‎– 6009 (US)

Recorded December 23, 1955 at Café Bohemia, New York

Thanks to snobb, js for the updates

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CHARLES MINGUS THE CHARLES MINGUS QUINTET + MAX ROACH reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

js
Although it was not released until 1964, “Charles Mingus Quintet + Max Roach” was recorded live in NYC in 1955. In fact, this is the second half of a show that had its first half released in 1956 as “Chazz”, or “Mingus at the Bohemia”. Its no surprise then that “Quintet” is fairly similar to “Chazz” in that it reveals a band experimenting with new things, while trying to please the crowd with something familiar too. This recording comes very early in Mingus’ career, and you can hear early versions of future classic tunes before their eventual direction was established.

The three Mingus tunes include “A Foggy Day”, “Haitian Fight Song” and “Love Chant”. “A Foggy Day” combines the standard a “A Foggy Day in London” with musicians mimicking street sounds. The later studio version will capture this effect better, but its still interesting hearing this early attempt. The version of “Haitian Fight Song” on here also has a ways to go before it transforms from the bluesy soul jazz tune it is on here, to the fierce battle cry it will become on “The Clown” album, and any later recordings as well. Meanwhile, “Love Chant” is not too different from its eventual studio recording, although it will pick up a little more energy.

Mingus’ band on here includes Mal Waldron on piano, George Barrow on tenor, Eddie Bert on trombone and Willie Jones on drums. As the title implies, Max Roach replaces Jones on a couple cuts, and its on those cuts where things get a little more out there. Roach and Mingus’ composition “Drums”, is more similar to avant-garde concert hall music than anything happening in jazz at this time. The instruments play drones and off-kilter chords while Roach explores polyrhythms in constant flux. Over the next few years, an avant-garde scene will develop in jazz, but you still will never hear much music like this. Roach also takes an extended solo on “I’ll Remember April”, displaying the sort of free-wheeling rhythms that will be picked by new drummers like Tony Williams and Jack DeJohnette. The other standard on here is “Lady Bird”, whose melodic arrangement takes on a very Mingus flavor. Throughout the album, Barrow and Bert tend to play things a little more straight, while Waldron is more apt to get into his odd gritty avant-blues and occasional flamboyant extravaganzas from his classical background. Waldron, in general, brings a heightened sense of awareness and sly humor that fits well with the Mingus musical vision.

The biggest problem with this CD is the recorded sound. Barrow is a bit louder than everyone else and Waldron is so far in the background, sometimes you can barely hear him at all. This CD is probably only interesting to Mingus fans who want to hear his work while it was being developed, or just fans of jazz history in general, but anyone looking to get their first Mingus CD, I’d stay far away from this one, there are much better recordings to be had.

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