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Bebop Spoken There

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13,508 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 13 years ago. 926 of them this year alone and, so far, 90 this month (July 27).

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Album review: Charles Mingus - Mingus at Carnegie Hall

Charles Mingus (bass); Jon Faddis (trumpet); George Adams (tenor sax); Hamiet Bluiett (baritone sax); Don Pullen (piano); Dannie Richmond (drums) + Rahsaan Roland Kirk (tenor sax/stritch); John Handy (alto, tenor sax); Charles McPherson (alto sax).

All bets are off! - Reissue of the Year - this is it! Carnegie Hall seems to work a kind of magic on those who have practiced hard enough to pass through its portals and on to the hallowed stage. Toscanini, Goodman, Monk and Mingus made it and this 1974 double CD (or 3 x lp vinyl) is a worthy example and, indeed, in jazz terms eclipses just about anything that was ever played there before and, most likely, since!

The music abounds in wild abandon that, unlike some of the freer music I've heard recently, still maintains an approximation of form.

The soloists push the boundaries of their mentors and inspirations way beyond mere clonism but into realms even their bopfathers  (a Lance word) may have feared to tread. Faddis takes the wisdom of Dizzy to even greater heights like - how many octaves can you hit above top C?!

George Adams explodes throughout as though he was playing piccolo parts, using Grit 40 sandpaper reeds and up for a fight (you had to to be in a Mingus band). Adams rewrites saxophone playing - maybe even as much as Coltrane did.

But, for me, the wake-up call was not Mingus' ever powerful bass nor Dannie Richmond's drums but Don Pullen on piano. I knew Pullen as a fine groove-making organist but this was my first experience of him as a pianist. His solos bring sanity amidst the magnificent musical madness taking place.

Perdido brought the guests on stage for a jam that made the old JATP jams seem like elevator music. Handy, Bluiett, Kirk, McPherson Adams and Faddis took this to near enough a light year or two from the  Planet Uranus. The jamming continued, this time in the key of C. Uranus was history it was now Pluto or bust! You want free? just dig the extended coda!

I've got a shelf full of Mingus on vinyl, CD and cassette and this is no poor relation. Turn the volume way up high and you're in Carnegie Hall maybe sitting next to Leonard Feather, Barry Ulanov or Dan Morgenstern.

An interesting footnote is that, after the gig, Mingus said to Adams, "George, I want you to go home and check out Ben Webster". Lance 

Available via usual suspects but check out your high street record store first.

CD1: Introduction; Peggy's Blue Skylight; Celia; Fables of Faubus.

CD 2: Big Alice; Perdido; C Jam Blues.

1 comment :

Lewis Watson said...

Hi Lance,

I remember buying the this album on it's initial release, I bought it from Hamiltons music shop in Middlesborough,

I listened to it first in omne of the listening booths, I remember the startled expression on the faces of some of the other shoppers,

I'm surprised who haven't heard much of Don Pullen he's long been one of my favourites, you must check out the Don

Pullen/George Adams quartet, I'll think you will enjoy them, Danny Richmond on drums and Cameron Brown on Bass.

Lewis Watson

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