Something Like a Bird is an album by Charles Mingus, released on the Atlantic label in 1981. The album reached a peak position of number 37 on the Billboard’s Jazz Albums chart. Mingus is featured as composer and director but does not actually play on this album as his ALS had progressed to the point where he was no longer able to do so. These were the last sessions of his own music he ever participated in, although he did attend one session for the partial collaboration with Joni Mitchell, Mingus before his death in January 1979.
“Although confined to a wheelchair and less than a year from his death, Charles Mingus supervised the recording sessions that resulted in this LP and its companion Me Myself An Eye. The music on this set utilizes a 27-piece band (including 11 saxophones and four guitars) on the 31-minute “Something Like a Bird” and a smaller 21-piece orchestra (only nine saxes and three guitars) for “Farewell Farwell.” It seems that everyone wanted to play with (or at least for) Mingus during his last few years and such musicians as Lee Konitz, Charles McPherson, George Coleman, Mike Brecker, Ricky Ford, Pepper Adams, Randy Brecker, Jack Walrath, Slide Hampton, Jimmy Knepper, Larry Coryell and bassists Eddie Gomez and George Mraz help out on this spirited if overcrowded music. It’s not essential but certainly colorful.” – Scott Yanow/AllMusic.
“Something Like a Bird Part 1” (Mingus) -19:12
“Something Like a Bird Part 2” (Mingus) -12:14
“Farewell, Farwell” (Mingus) – 5:57
Alto Saxophone – Akira Ohmori, Charles McPherson (tracks: A1, B1), Lee Konitz
Alto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone – Ken Hitchcock, Yoshi Malta (tracks: B2)
Arranged By – Charles Mingus, Jack Walrath (tracks: A1, B1), Paul Jeffrey (tracks: B2)
Baritone Saxophone – Craig Purpura, Pepper Adams, Ronnie Cuber
Bass – Eddie Gomez, George Mraz (tracks: A1, B1)
Composed By – Charles Mingus
Conductor – Paul Jeffrey
Drums – Dannie Richmond, Joe Chambers
Electric Piano – Kenny Werner (tracks: A1, B1)
Guitar – Danny Toan, Jack Wilkins, Larry Coryell, Ted Dunbar
Percussion – Ray Mantilla
Piano – Bob Neloms
Tenor Saxophone – Daniel Block, John Tank (tracks: B2), Michael Brecker (tracks: A1, B1), Ricky Ford
Tenor Saxophone, Alto Saxophone – George Coleman (tracks: A1, B1)
Trombone – Jimmy Knepper, Keith O’Quinn (tracks: B2), Slide Hampton (tracks: A1, B1)
Trumpet – Jack Walrath, Mike Davis (3), Randy Brecker (tracks: A1, B1)
Recorded: New York City, January 18, 1978.
Producer: Ilhan Mimaroglu, Raymond Silva