Charles Mingus – Mingus Plays Piano

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Mingus Plays Piano is a 1963 solo jazz album by Charles Mingus. The album is notable for Mingus’s departure from his usual role as composer and double-bassist in ensemble recordings, instead playing piano without any additional musicians.

AllMusic Review by Rovi Staff:
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.
In the first piece, “Myself When I Am Real,” turbulence and aching beauty merge in Mingus’ spontaneous unfolding of phrases. Such standards as “Body and Soul” and “Memories of You” are given personal, harmonically intriguing readings that blend in seamlessly with a Mingus original like “Old Portrait.” In many ways, it is a treat to hear the artist working in this pared-down, quieter atmosphere, as it allows one to concentrate more intently upon the range and compositional brilliance of this incomparable figure (

Track listing:
Myself When I Am Real” – 7:38
I Can’t Get Started” (Vernon Duke, Ira Gershwin) – 3:43
Body and Soul” (Frank Eyton, Johnny Green, Edward Heyman, Robert Sour) – 4:35
Roland Kirk’s Message” – 2:43
Memories of You” (Eubie Blake, Andy Razaf) – 4:37
She’s Just Miss Popular Hybrid” – 3:11
Orange Was the Color of Her Dress, Then Silk Blue” – 4:18
Meditations for Moses” – 3:38
Old Portrait” – 3:49
I’m Getting Sentimental Over You” (George Bassman, Ned Washington) – 3:46
Compositional Theme Story: “Medleys, Anthems and Folklore” – 8:35

All music composed by Charles Mingus unless otherwise noted.

Charles Mingus – piano, vocals


Released: 1963
Recorded: July 30, 1963
Length: 50:03
Label Impulse!
Producer: Bob Thiele