The first comprehensive documentary of Afro-American jazz bassist, bandleader and composer Charles Mingus. Mingus led a tumultuous life filled with trauma and frustration, joy and creativity. Not light enough to be considered white and not dark enough to fit into the black community, he was an outcast in American society who charted his own path. Likewise, his legacy as a 20th Century composer reaches far beyond conventional jazz idioms. Mingus apprenticed with people like Duke Ellington, Lionel Hampton and Charlie Parker before going out on his own and becoming a musical force for more than a decade. When interest in his music waned at the height of the rock era in the mid-1960s, and one of his closest collaborators Eric Dolphy died, he was institutionalized due to psychological problems. Upon his return to the music scene, he began playing more concerts and his sales zoomed. This golden period of recognition ended when he contracted Lou Gehrig's disease and his music began to deteriorate. He died in 1979.
This album is unique in Mingus' enormous catalog. As the title indicates, the famous bassist takes to the ivories solo to give life to his dazzling improvisational art. At first it seems odd to hear Mingus without one of his trademark interactive and exploratory ensembles. But the sensibility that he brings to this collection of piano pieces bears all the signs of the composer's genius…
Of all the titles in the Impulse! 2 on 1 series, this volume may be the very finest. It pairs two indisputable classic Charles Mingus titles – both of which have endured for nearly 50 years – that were cut during the same year. While The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady was recorded on January 20, 1963, the recording that ended up as Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus was begun that very day, but not finished until September. The former album is rightly regarded as one of (if not the) Mingus' masterpieces for its use of colors, tonalities, expansive harmonies, and the juxtaposition of numerous aspects of the jazz tradition – from Ellingtonian swing to hard bop, to West Coast and new-thing jazz – employing a vocal chorus, and even Latin and flamenco flourishes in a single conceptual work played by an 11-piece orchestra.
On this brilliant 1963 release, bassist and composer extraordinaire Charles Mingus delivers a fiery, startling imaginative album of solo piano takes of his compositions, free improvisations, and jazz standards. Included are covers of "Body and Soul" and "I Can't Get Started," as well as originals such as "Orange Was the Color of Her Dress, Then Silk Blues." The classic 1963 release by one of jazz’s great revolutionaries is a great insight into the imagination of one of the most imaginative and prolific jazz musicians of the 20th Century.
Charles Mingus Jr. (Arizona, 1922-1979), bassist, composer and highly influential group leader in the American jazz was a genius of music and modern jazz. He is considered one of the great composers of the last century. His creations retain the warm and soulful hard bop and bebop and draw heavily black gospel music, sometimes on the basis of elements of free jazz and classical music. This album clearly reflects the best of every facet interpretative of Mingus and is a masterpiece without discussion. It was recorded in 1959, including only 9 tracks, and has been reprinted several times, adding the 3 final tracks of the album.