Charles Mingus: Mingus Moods

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COMPOSERS: Charles Mingus
LABELS: Properbox
ALBUM TITLE: Charles Mingus: Mingus Moods
PERFORMER: Charles Mingus (bass), Eric Dolphy (sax), Dannie Richmond (drums) etc


Few artists made such an impact on modern jazz or left such an enduring legacy as the mad, bad and dangerous to know double bassist Charles Mingus. It speaks volumes that, 35 years after his death, the Charles Mingus Big Band continues to sell out at clubs around the world. This four-CD box set goes some way towards explaining his music’s appeal, through extracts from some of his most acclaimed work, including Pithecanthropus Erectus, Tijuana Moods and Mingus Ah Um. The late 1950s saw Mingus at the height of his creative powers, redefining the art of collective improvisation with a changing jazz ‘workshop’ that included guest soloists such as alto saxists Jackie McLean and Eric Dolphy, backed by regular sidemen he pressed into long-term service. The range of the musicians involved, who revelled in exhilarating clangour, heartfelt agitprop, delicious blues and lazily swinging Ellingtonia, was unique. Joop Visser’s liner notes help put this extraordinary music in context. Garry Booth