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Favourite / best Charles Mingus album?

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SiUK's picture
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Since buying a few Charles Mingus CDs a short while ago I've been playing his music a heck of a lot, even playing some CDs in the car when out and about (which I don't normally do). I wouldn't have even been able to name a Mingus album before buying the ones I have now to be truthful, but I'm absolutely hooked. The music really grabs at my brain and soul. Better late than never I suppose.

 

The first full Mingus album I listened to was Pithecanthropus Erectus, and whilst I enjoyed it a lot, The Clown really got to me. I played that about four times before moving on to 'Oh Yeah'....and that album? Wow! Where have I been? I've lost count of how many times that's been played already Wink Oh Yeah is definitely my favourite so far, and I've listened to Blues & Roots, Ah Um, and The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady, which are all brilliant as well. I've got tonight at noon to listen to still, and there are some more CDs on the way.

 

Anyone have a favourite Charles Mingus album, and or an album they would particularly recommend?

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CnoEvil's picture
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I only have the one - Tijuana

I only have the one - Tijuana Moods.

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SiUK's picture
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RE: I only have the one - Tijuana

Hi, CnoEvil.

Not heard that album, but it is one that I've already ordered, so I'll be able to have a listen to it fairly soon. Smile

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RE: I only have the one - Tijuana

Written by the great man himself: 

In the liner notes, Mingus wrote, “Tijuana Moods is the best record I ever made,” and “I believe this record includes performances by some of the greatest musicians I have ever worked with.” Far be it from me to argue with the man. It’s a great album no matter what your mood.

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SiUK's picture
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RE: I only have the one - Tijuana

I ordered the Let My Children Hear Music CD the other day and so that will be coming soon as well, and he apparrently (I read somewhere) also says in the liner notes of that album that “this is the best album I have ever made”   excellent! ohhh sure   No doubt he must have felt it was true for each one. As long as he didn't say that about all of them Wink

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rothlee's picture
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As a side note, I'm assuming

As a side note, I'm assuming you're ignoring participation in projects headed by others, so we're missing Complete Jazz At Massey Hall off the list? No jazz collection is complete without it, although Mingus' contribution was as player, so not one many would refer to as his work.

The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady is, for me, the greatest album Mingus has available, and is up there with the very best jazz records of all time. In fact, I'd struggle to find anything by any other artist beyond Coltrane who has something to match the depth, passion, musicianship and quality of composition that TBSATSL offers. True class.

Second place for me would be the Antibes live album, which took about five or six listens before I got the feel for it, but now it's rarely away from the CD tray for long.

SiUK's picture
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RE: As a side note, I'm assuming

rothlee wrote:
...so we're missing Complete Jazz At Massey Hall off the list? No jazz collection is complete without it...

Thankyou for the recommendation, exactly what I'm after. Just now ordered it.  Smile

rothlee wrote:
The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady is, for me, the greatest album Mingus has available,

I've only listened to The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady once, the other day, but I was quite busy so it didn't get all of my attention, so I shall be revisiting it soon, no doubt.

rothlee wrote:
Second place for me would be the Antibes live album, which took about five or six listens before I got the feel for it, but now it's rarely away from the CD tray for long.

Ah great, that was one of the discs that I ordered a few days ago, so it should be dropping through the letterbox quite soon.

Thanks for the pointers Smile

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Complete Jazz at Massey Hall

Complete Jazz at Massey Hall is a little older than the Mingus work you-re listening to, just as a word of warning. It pre-dates the better work of his by about 10-15 years, but in terms of historical importance, a chance to hear Charlie Parker in higher-than-typical recording quality, AND the opportunity to hear arguably the greatest bop ensemble of all time, it's well worth the fee for anyone with a jazz fascination or a growing collection.

Not sure what it is that appeals about Mingus in particular, so it's hard to recommend beyond the key works of jazz history. If it's the use of bass in jazz music, Ron Carter's 'All Blues' is a great listen.

If it's the imposing compositions (as opposed to the more subtle sounds of Miles, for example), then Coltrane's work - whilst obvious - is always worth accumulating. 'A Love Supreme' is the starting point, obviously, and the spiritual follow-up, 'Meditations' is a great album if you *get* 'A Love Supreme' - although 'Meditations' is not as easy to acquire. 'Olé' and 'Crescent' are also very good, and my personal favourite live album of his is 'Live at Birdland', which really gives you a chance to hear the great quartet working together as well as expressing their talents individually.

In terms of great compositions in jazz, the essential (and historically vital) Duke Ellington's Newport album (the 'complete' 1956 one is the one you'd want) offers a chance to hear the master of jazz composing, along with an immensely famous 27 chorus solo by Paul Gonsalves in "Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue". Ellington also has 'Blues in Orbit' and 'Money Jungle' (the latter featuring Mingus) which are worth a listen, again for the quality of their composition.

All these recommendations come down to how new you are to the genre, and what especially interests you about it. Very few genres have such a gulf between their extremities.

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RE: Complete Jazz at Massey Hall

Hello rothlee

Thanks again for giving me directions. This info is very useful to me. Smile

 

I bought an Original Album Series set of Coltrane which included Giant Steps, Coltrane Jazz, Coltrane Plays the Blues, and Coltrane's sounds. Aside of a few tracks here and there on compilations I have, this has been my introduction to John Coltrane. I've only sat and listened to Giant Steps from that lot so far, but my favourite tracks on that CD are Cousin Mary and Spiral, although 'Countdown' is really frenetic and it made me laugh at the speed he zipped through it. Don't know whether it is supposed to be humourous, but what the heck! Also noticed that the stereo soundstage is pretty much absent on a number of these Jazz CDs Although good quality sound, the instruments are positioned to the left and right speakers, and there's not much going on between them (sax from left and bass, drums, snare etc from right). 

 

Anyway, I just did a hunt for the two CDs you recommended (A Love Supreme  and Meditations) and found them used for  just over £10 for both. The Mediations CD was a no brainer as I could only find one version, but there were many releases of the A Love Supreme CD. In the end I just plumped for the Decca originals recording ( 2008 ) and hope it isn't a tinny affair.

 

One of the box sets I bought recently, during a big splurge on music , was 'Miles, The Perfect Miles Davis Collection' which is a 20 CD box set.  In a Silent Way and Kind of Blue will be duplicated because they are in the boxset, but it was a very good price so I don't mind. I also got 'Birth of the Cool' separately.. Also got an Original Album Series (five CDs) of Thelonius Monk. So have a lot to listen to Wink

 

I shall investigate the other recommendations as well. Thanks a million.

 

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