Trying To Get To You

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Mingus At Cornell

Over the past few years, my love of jazz has been expanding. I've come to love the beauty of the playing - both for it's virtuosity and for it's willingness to subsume that virtuosity for the sake l of the song. I am not an expert on the music in the slightest - I am like someone who is getting into fine wine, who knows what he likes (and seems to like the good stuff) and is hungry to learn more.

I've been listening a lot lately to Charles Mingus. I've been floored by the soul of his playing and the soul of his bands. It's tempestuous music, with obvious roots in blues and gospel, which is most likely why I've been so drawn to it. The soloists are great, but Mingus seems to always keep it focused on the band, and there's nothing I love more than a great band leader. The music is completely uncompromising - but there's nothing self-righteous about it. It is simply the sound of genius creating. Here is a clip of the Mingus Sextet featuring saxophonist Eric Dolphy in Belgium in 1964:

Blue Note just announced the release of Cornell 1964, a great show with the same sextet. It's worth taking the time to check out the digital player that they've created, as well as an additional video that they have in the player. It's awesome stuff - this is music worth delving into.

Buy Charles Mingus At Amazon


Anonymous said...

i recommend his autobiography, Beneath the Underdog. It's like listening to one of his songs.

Scholar said...

Great post, Ben. I can relate to where you're at in your explorations of jazz. I have grown to appreciate it much more in recent years, but I still have a great deal to learn about the genre.

Keep up the good work, and thank you kindly for the link.

Unknown said...

Great stuff, Ben. Mingus and Eric Dolphy were one of those musical pairings in which each drove the other to increasingly greater heights. The Town Hall Concert and Mingus at Antibes are among my favorite recordings of all time. "So Long Eric" from Town Hall is beyond description.

Mingus's music is a bottomless well. The mid-50s "Mingus at Cafe Bohemia" has a completely different feel than the Dolphy-era recordings, yet it still has his unmistakable intensity. Mingus Ah Um and Mingus Mingus Mingus are great studio records from that era that have some of his best compositions, including "Goodbye Porkpie Hat," which is one of the deepest blues ever. Then there's Black Saint and the Sinner Lady, which is orchestrated like a Gil Evans work but still has that anarchic energy.

The further you dig, the deeper you get.