Charles Mingus Presents Charles Mingus (Full Album)

Thanks! Share it with your friends!


Charles Mingus Presents Charles Mingus is an album by jazz bassist and composer Charles Mingus, recorded in 1960 and released in 1961. The quartet of Mingus, Eric Dolphy, Ted Curson and Dannie Richmond constituted Mingus’s core working band at the time, and had been performing the material on this album for weeks at The Showplace in New York. To recreate this atmosphere, Mingus introduces the songs as if he were speaking to the audience, even admonishing them to not applaud or rattle their glasses.

The album was recorded in October 1960 in New York for Nat Hentoff’s label Candid. Mingus usually recorded on major labels like Columbia and Atlantic, but was given more freedom on Hentoff’s independent label.

“Folk Forms, No. 1” is built on a rhythmic pattern. According to Mingus, “they had to listen to what I do on the bass. If I changed it, they’d have to go a different way. This is a very flexible work. About the only other guidance I give them is that if I hear them doing something particularly good one night, I remind them of it next time we play the number and suggest they keep it in. But as a whole, it never comes out the same”. This song features melodic drum work from Dannie Richmond and sympathetic interplay by Ted Curson and Eric Dolphy. The quartet also performed the tune in Antibes with the addition of Booker Ervin on tenor saxophone; the concert is released on Mingus at Antibes.

“Original Faubus Fables”, a.k.a. “Fables of Faubus”, originally appeared on Mingus Ah Um. Mingus introduces it sarcastically as “dedicated to the first, or second or third, all-American heel, Faubus.”[3] The lyrics are sung by Mingus and Dannie Richmond, denouncing segregation. Nat Hentoff’s liner notes state, “In the club, the mood of the caricature was much more bitingly sardonic and there was a great deal more tension. Mingus says the other label would not allow him to record the talking sections, which he feels are an important part of the overall color and movement of the piece. This version is the way Mingus did intend the work to sound”. Eric Dolphy plays alto saxophone on this version, and would perform many more on bass clarinet when he rejoined Mingus in 1964. One example of that year can be found on the live recording at Cornell which expands to almost half an hour.

“What Love?” is based on two standards: “What Is This Thing Called Love?” and “You Don’t Know What Love Is”; and was being played in the Down Beat Club in Los Angeles as far back as 1945. According to Mingus, “people thought we were crazy, and I only did it when there weren’t too many around. They wanted to hear the beat all the time, but it always seemed to me that so long as you could feel the beat you didn’t have to keep emphasizing it. Moreover, you can speed it up or make it slower, as happens in Yiddish and Spanish music. Why tie yourself to the same tempo all the time?”. The piece features a complex, lyrical melody performed by Ted Curson and Eric Dolphy (first on alto saxophone, then bass clarinet). Curson solos, followed by Mingus, then Dolphy; however all four musicians play freely throughout the piece. This recording and another performance on Mingus At Antibes are particularly famous for the musical conversation between Mingus and Dolphy (on bass clarinet) that takes place before the second statement of the melody.

“All The Things You Could Be By Now If Sigmund Freud’s Wife Was Your Mother” is loosely based on “All the Things You Are”, but according to Hentoff, “the musicians keep the original structure… but do not even play the tune’s chord structure. The piece in general is based on A flat. Again, the rhythms change. There is no set beat, and yet there’s an implicit rhythmic flow, up and down, throughout the work”. Explains Dannie Richmond, “Mingus and I feel each other out as we go; but always, when the time comes back into the original beat, we’re both always there. The best way I can explain is that we find a beat that’s in the air, and just take it out of the air when we want it”.

Hentoff concludes, “For once, in these sessions, everyone in a Mingus unit reached—and maintained—that level of daring and that power to make their instruments become extensions of themselves”.

The album is part of The Penguin Guide to Jazz ‘s “Core Collection” (Wikipedia).

AllMusic Review by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr. :
Charles Mingus has a fascinating way of offering music that is grounded in tradition while remaining startlingly original. The freshness of a disc like Charles Mingus Presents Charles Mingus, has the effect of rendering much of what passes for jazz as tedious. The band is small for Mingus, and includes Eric Dolphy on alto saxophone and bass clarinet, Ted Curson on trumpet, and Dannie Richmond on drums. It would be one of Dolphy and Curson’s last recording dates with the artist, and they seem determined to go all out for it. The leader’s bassline kicks off “Folk Forms No. 1,” followed by Dolphy outlining the melody, and then joined by Curson. A simple riff develops into a lively New Orleans funeral march that’s developed for 12 minutes. “Original Faubus Fables” is serious in intent — a political attack on segregation governor Faubus — but Mingus and Richmond’s singing is difficult to listen to with a straight face. Still, this doesn’t distract from the wonderful music. Again and again, the elasticity of the sound is fascinating, at once spacious with the bass and drums balanced against the brass and then noisy, with the horns wailing and crying. The last two pieces, “What Love?” and the outrageously titled “All the Things You Could Be by Now if Sigmund Freud’s Wife Was Your Mother,” are much looser, bordering on free jazz. The album accomplishes what the best of Mingus accomplishes: the perfect tension between jazz played as an ensemble and jazz played as totally free.

Track listing:
All compositions by Charles Mingus
“Folk Forms, No. 1” – 13:08
“Original Faubus Fables” – 9:19
“What Love?” – 15:23
“All the Things You Could Be by Now If Sigmund Freud’s Wife Was Your Mother” – 8:33

Charles Mingus – bass
Ted Curson – trumpet
Eric Dolphy – alto saxophone and bass clarinet
Dannie Richmond – drums

Released: 1961
Recorded: October 20, 1960
Studio Nola Penthouse Sound Studios, New York City
Length: 46:23
Label: Candid