Along with Mingus Ah Um this is one of two essential Mingus albums for anyone looking to understand the genre and it's many forms a little better. Mingus was given a challenge to make a complete jazz album rooted in the blues - hence it's title, and here he came up with the goods - and then some. Everything here is driving and vital, underpinned by Mingus' peerless double bass playing and his frequent exhortations to his band mates when things clearly go right.
It seems almost unbelievable that this whole album, outtakes and all were recorded in a single day in 1959, with the original six track album backed up with four alternative versions that take the music in different directions thanks to jazz's typical improvisational mode of operation. Everything here sounds fresh, alive, full of vitality - particularly the wonderful "Moanin'" and "Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting" which are simply two of the best jazz tracks by any artist. The unusual line up of no less that four sax players (at three different registers), two trombones, piano and drums simply swings. The whole ensemble expertly wind their way around each other, circling, almost sizing each other up and daring the other players to reach new heights. At the centre stands Mingus, the ringmaster directing proceedings with his double bass unusually miked loud, front and centre in a joyous, playful set that brings out some marvellous interplay. Above all this album sounds like it was pure fun to record and even at 60 years distance it crackles with energy as sparks fly. If you like jazz you'll love this.
Blues & Roots
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Audio CD, Extra tracks, Import, 13 January 2008
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- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- Product Dimensions : 14.71 x 22.3 x 0.79 cm; 56.13 Grams
- Manufacturer : WARNER MUSIC INTL
- Manufacturer reference : 4 3 00736172
- Original Release Date : 2008
- Run time : 1 hour and 12 minutes
- SPARS Code : DDD
- Label : WARNER MUSIC INTL
- ASIN : B00006H67I
- Number of discs : 1
- Best Sellers Rank: 39,066 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
- Customer Reviews:
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Blues & Roots
4.8 out of 5
169 global ratings
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D J F
One of two essential Mingus albumsReviewed in the United Kingdom on 17 July 2019
3 people found this helpful
An Excellent AlbumReviewed in the United Kingdom on 2 February 2020
I have this album on CD already and it is in my digital music player too but I have been building a vinyl collection again and it is Charles Mingus time. I really love the varied approaches he takes and even on this album that is limited to blues and roots music there is such a joy in the spontaneity of each performance., where everyone is playing off everybody else. That is the genius of Mingus, his method of getting each member of, quite a sizeable band to learn his part by ear. He also really knew how to choose the right players for each instrument to get the performances he was after and to fully realise his compositions.
Makes the costs of second tonearm dedicated to a good mono cartridge almost excusableReviewed in the United Kingdom on 27 May 2017
This mono release is magical. The volume of power as delivered by lower brass from its groves is a rare thing to behold. Makes the costs of second tonearm dedicated to a good mono cartridge almost excusable.
2 people found this helpful
J. C. James
Cheerful & Lively.Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 30 May 2019
Bags of energy & joi de vivre, but not enough discernable melody for me.