Charles Mingus – The Clown

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The Clown is an album by Charles Mingus recorded and released in 1957 on Atlantic Records as SD-1260. It is the follow-up to 1956’s Pithecanthropus Erectus and features the improvised narration of Jean Shepherd. A deluxe edition of The Clown was issued in 2000 on Rhino featuring two bonus tracks. All the tracks were recorded on March 12, 1957, except for “The Clown”, recorded on February 13 of the same year.

According to Nat Hentoff’s liner notes, Mingus explained why he chose those four tracks for the album: “I selected these four over two others that were more intricate because some of those guys had been saying that I didn’t swing. So I made some that did. This album also has the first blues I’ve made on record.” (Wikipedia).

AllMusic Review by Steve Huey:
The Clown was Charles Mingus’ second masterpiece in a row, upping the already intense emotional commitment of Pithecanthropus Erectus and burning with righteous anger and frustration. With Pithecanthropus, Mingus displayed a gift for airtight, focused arrangements that nonetheless allowed his players great freedom to add to the established mood of each piece. The Clown refines and heightens that gift; instead of just writing heads that provide launch points for solos, Mingus tries to evoke something specific with every piece, and even his most impressionistic forays have a strong storytelling quality. In fact, The Clown’s title cut makes that explicit with a story verbally improvised by Jean Shepherd (yes, the same Jean Shepherd responsible for A Christmas Story) from a predetermined narrative. There are obvious jazz parallels in the clown’s descent into bitterness with every unresponsive, mean-spirited audience, but the track is even more interesting for the free improvisations led by trombonist Jimmy Knepper, as the group responds to Shepherd’s story and paints an aural backdrop. It’s evidence that Mingus’ compositional palette was growing more determinedly modern, much like his increasing use of dissonance, sudden tempo changes, and multiple sections. The Clown introduced two of Mingus’ finest compositions in the driving, determined “Haitian Fight Song” and the ’40s-flavored “Reincarnation of a Lovebird,” a peaceful but melancholy tribute to Charlie Parker; Mingus would return to both throughout his career. And, more than just composing and arranging, Mingus also begins to take more of the spotlight as a soloist; in particular, his unaccompanied sections on “Haitian Fight Song” make it one of his fieriest moments ever. Mingus may have matched the urgency of The Clown on later albums, but he never quite exceeded it. (http://www.allmusic.com/album/the-clown-mw0000199104).

Track listing:
All tracks written by Charles Mingus.

“Haitian Fight Song” – 11:57
“Blue Cee” – 7:48
“Reincarnation of a Lovebird” – 8:31
“The Clown” – 12:29
Deluxe Edition bonus tracks:
“Passions of a Woman Loved” – 9:52
“Tonight at Noon” – 5:57

Personnel:
Charles Mingus – bass
Shafi Hadi – alto and tenor saxophone
Jimmy Knepper – trombone
Wade Legge – piano
Dannie Richmond – drums
Jean Shepherd – narration (track 4)

Released: Late August/early September 1957[1]
Recorded: February 13 and March 12, 1957
Atlantic Studios, New York City
Length: 40:41
Label: Atlantic
SD-1260
Producer: Nesuhi Ertegün

Comments

Rodrigo Garcia says:

my favorite Mingus album

Lunar Orbit says:

Charles Mingus could put out a record with only himself on it and I'd listen,

Matt Roberts says:

pondering this mighty composition, I wonder about the facetious nature of the white man as perceived by the other races.
I personally do not effect this clown's smile, but I know it all too well, as the harbinger of the doom of all of civilization. Brbarians harboured their grudges against rome until it was too late for it to do anything but collapse under its own weight.

how this album cover represents the white man, I hope will never become of the proud people we now call hue-man

No man should ever be forced to smile as this clown was painted to…

Matt Roberts says:

i love this guy's smile!

blaho says:

I fell asleep listening to Chet the album and this came on, I was still conscious of the music in my dream. Which is fucking weird, but in my dream. I was in a room of an old house where I used to live in the 2000's in south east Houston. I was in that room sleeping on the floor, in my dream, and I was also dreaming while I was sleeping there. I was walking though a park in the woods, a trail similar to one that's here in Austin where I live now. And it was sorta dark in the trail no sun. All of a sudden I started thinking, in my dream, that that place, the park, would be a good place to commit a crime. All of a sudden in a distance I saw a black shadow of a person walking on that trail in the opposite direction. I suddenly moved my position on the trail to meet it head on and as I got closer to the person it was a total black shadow in the shape of a human. And the shadow walking through my body, right pass me. Right away I got a horrible feeling and I turned back to see it and it was now a woman dressed in black sexy leather and she used powers to throw me into a creek that the trail led to. But telekinetic powers. She raised her hand and I went in the air. Then she tossed me to that river and once that happened a gang of people dressed in demonic outfits, men and woman came out of nowhere and watched me as I drown. At this point I woke up from that dream, in my dream of me being in my old house in Houston where I spent some of my childhood. Once I woke up there was my ex girlfriend there, her new bf but also my uncle and some of my other family. And in that room was a record player that was obviously playing a record which was this album that was playing in the back of my mind as i was balls deep into this crazy ass dream. Btw I was naked the whole time in my dream too, fucking weird.

Raymond only masters do stuff like that Camp says:

master ray it's just genius inspires the flow of joy and feeling such cohesion musians

Rafael Bustos Negrete says:

junto con Ray Brown de los grandes bajistas del Jazz, uno de los grandes genios orquestadores no solo del genero, sino de la musica universal, para la eternidad…

Romeo Romero says:

The first track is out of this world. I didnt know Mingus until I this Korean chick. Now I am addicted to Mingus, not the girl. I'm pleased with that though ha……ha……ha……ha…… (the sloth in Zootopia style).

stacyblue1980 says:

NO ARGUMENTS ARE NEEDED NOR WANTED HERE. I HAVE BEEN HARASSED BUT NO ARGUMENTS HERE PLEASE PEOPLE?? LETS JUST LISTEN AND COMMENT AND COMPLIMENT AS WE LIKE BUT NO NEGATIVITY HERE . THIS IS MINGUS. RESPECT TO THE UPLOADER AND MR MINGUS HIMSELF PLEASE? PLEASE? LOVEEEEE AND RESPECT MAN! ♥ …now lets just listen and take it easyyyyy…yes ignore trolls and those who think they know it all. PLEASE jaysus!?

stacyblue1980 says:

MINGUS !! Like the best book you ever read 7 times! Like the best drink you ever had and that one special birthday party you had once when the cake was just so pretty and you were in patent leather shiny shoes and a wee dress and you believed in Superman and King Arthur and the little fella down the road with the sweet smile and funny jokes and a red bicycle! YES. All the wonders. MINGUS!. Those dear wonders . Mingus to me is just as sweet.

Paolo Angioni says:

Meraviglia!

Nikolas Delaveris says:

Track Marking (not that you'd want to skip any of this goodness):

"Haitian Fight Song" – 00:10
"Blue Cee" – 12:11
"Reincarnation of a Lovebird" – 20:07
"The Clown" – 28:43

Bonus Tracks:
"Passions of a Woman Loved" – 41:00
"Tonight at Noon" – 50:51

Máté Éles says:

who is the drummer?

José Carlos Benevides says:

That was awesome!

Jorji Costava says:

This is incredible music! Really good stuff in my ear! Love so much Mingus! Sorry for English I from Obristan

Christian Limon says:

All tracks written by Charles Mingus.

"Haitian Fight Song" – 11:57
"Blue Cee" – 7:48
"Reincarnation of a Lovebird" – 8:31
"The Clown" – 12:29

Christian Limon says:

Charles Mingus – bass
Shafi Hadi – alto and tenor saxophone
Jimmy Knepper – trombone
Wade Legge – piano
Dannie Richmond – drums
Jean Shepherd – narration (track 4)

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