Charles Mingus – Mingus Ah Um (50th Anniversary Edition) ★★★★★

Mingus Ah UmSony Legacy

Mingus (b, p) with various line-ups incl. Richard Williams/Don Ellis (t), Jimmy Knepper/Willie Dennis (tb), John Handy, Booker Ervin, Shafi Hadi (reeds), Horace Parlan/Roland Hanna (p) and Dannie Richmond (d). Rec. 5 May-13 Nov 1959

One of the distinguishing factors in Mingus’ 1959 recordings is that, unlike the five- or six-piece working groups of the previous few years, he was allowed to expand his personnel in the studio. That obviously includes Atlantic’s rough-and-ready Blues And Roots which, in a couple of tunes, functioned as an alternate version of Ah Um but which was not released for over a year. By then, Ah Um had made its impact, not least because of sidemen such as Knepper, Ervin and Handy – none of them “names” until chosen by Mingus – and, similarly, the great Richmond. Another factor in its success was a killer selection of nine tunes. A programme starting out with three remarkably different blues – ‘Better Git It In Your Soul’, ‘Goodbye Pork Pie Hat’ and ‘Boogie Stop Shuffle’ – could hardly fail to grab Mingus fans, but the performances were tight enough to convince many doubters as well.

This 50th Anniversary Edition actually contains a whole extra album, namely Mingus Dynasty – which means, incidentally, that nearly all of the previous triple-CD reissue of this material is included on the present double. This is where the trumpets were added. Though Michael Cuscuna’s reissue note observes that Dynasty’s short-term impact was less marked, in one way it’s even more impressive, especially with the writing involved in ‘Far Wells, Mill Valley’ and ‘Diane’ played by an 11-piece band with flute and vibes. But there’s also stuff such as ‘Song With Orange’ and ‘Gunslinging Bird’.

– Brian Priestley

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website

If you do not change browser settings, you consent to continue. Learn more

I understand

Call 0800 137201 to subscribe or click here to email the subscriptions team

Get in touch

Jazzwise Magazine,
St. Judes Church,
Dulwich Road, 
Herne Hill,
London, SE24 0PD.

0208 677 0012

Latest Tweets

@OttoWillberg Oddly, that's also the title of one of his albums...
Follow Us - @Jazzwise
RT @mpjanisch: S/o to @Jazzwise for premiering the album trailer for my new record coming out Sept 6 on @WhirlwindRecord - shot in Studio 3…
Follow Us - @Jazzwise

Newsletter

© 2016 MA Business & Leisure Ltd registered in England and Wales number 02923699 Registered office: Jesses Farm, Snow Hill, Dinton, Salisbury, SP3 5HN . Designed By SE24 MEDIA