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Issue 1090

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Review

Mingus : Jazz in Detroit / Strata Concert Gallery / 46 Selden

Mingus1

9

6.5

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UK release date 02.11.2018

When you think of icons of jazz on their particular instrument who would you pick? John Coltrane comes to mind on sax, Bill Evans Piano, Art Blakey drums but who on bass? It has to be the one and only Charles Mingus. The body of work he left behind is legendary a musician who started writing in his teens influenced by Jelly Roll Morton's early jazz and classical composers such as Schoenberg, Bartók and Stravinsky. He is the man.

So you can imagine the surprise when new live recordings emerged all now beautifully packaged into a 5 box cd set and four hours long.Transmitted live by producer and broadcaster Robert ‘Bud’ Spangler for WDET-FM radio, these unearthed recordings from reels discovered by DJ Amir Abdullah capture Mingus during his week-long residency at the intimate Strata Concert Gallery in Detroit, 1973.
The highlight on this beautifully packaged product has to be the 26-minute “Noddin’ Ya Head Blues,” which sees the new band dig deep into Mingus and Brooks’ feline groove,replete with musical saw! Like Ellington's 'C Jam Blues' which descends into atonal semantics and the lilting Waltz of 'Dizzy Profile' is lush and proves to be the only recording of the song dedicated to the famed trumpeter.This is sublime music that has come to the fore and interesting to note that quite a few of his regular first call players were not on this. It no doubt gives it its historical perspective. Pianist Don Pullen is an absolute marvel standing in the shadow of the great Jacki Byard and proving to be his equal.The Piano intro on the waltz being a point in question.John Stubblefield's imperious tenor sax ( now a key figure in the Mingus Dynasty and Mingus Big Band) trumpeter Joe Gardner and the propulsive fluidity of drummer Roy Brooks. Lose yourself in Mingus's harmonic sophistication and sheer magic was it not the man himself who said 'my music is evidence of my soul's will to live.' Well his soul and music truly lives on with this remarkable discovery...
Words Emrys Baird

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