Charles Mingus & Eric Dolphy Sextet – The Complete Bremen Concert (2010)

FrontCover1There are so many faces to Mingus that it is hard to choose which one you like best, but his relationship with Eric Dolphy was one of the high points, and this remarkable CD captured that time (1964) in Bremen, Germany, shortly before they parted ways, sadly forever.

Mingus was a tough, uncompromising bandleader. He expected everything out of his musicians, even if it meant punching them in the face like he did Jimmy Knepper once because he couldn’t hit the right note on his trombone. He would also scold his audiences for not listening, too busy clinking glasses or chatting with each other in the clubs. With Dolphy, their relationship appeared telepathic. Not much needed to said, as if Dolphy said very much to begin with. He always came in where Mingus needed him to, and seemed to carry the notes into other dimensions.

Dolphy became the star of these concerts, but of course Clifford Jordan was no slouch himself. Jacki Byard sounds like he had great fun, sometimes falling into a barrel house style of playing which was in keeping with Mingus’ eccentric mix of rhythms. You never quite know what will come next. Dannie Richmond and Johnny Coles round out the band.

I think some of these songs have appeared on other CD’s before. The moment where Dolphy says he is leaving the band to spend the rest of his time in Europe on his own, I believe came at Bremen. Sadly, he would fall a few weeks later from insulin shock and drift into a diabetic coma from which he never recovered. This CD serves as a beautiful testament to the last days of Mingus and Dolphy together. (James Ferguson)

And yes … this is a bootleg, and if you listen to this album, you´ll know, why bootlegs are an importnt addition to all the official releases … this is one of the best recordings of Charles Mingus and Eric Dolphy we ever heard !

Jaki Byard (piano)
Johnny Coles (trumpet)
Eric Dolphy (saxophone, flute, clarinet)
Clifford Jordan (saxophone)
Charles Mingus (bass)
Dannie Richmond (drums)

01. A.T.F.W (Art Tatum-Fats Waller) (Mingus/Byard) 4.51
02. Sophisticated Lady (Ellington/Parish/Mills) 4.09
03. So Long Eric (Mingus) 26.49
04. Parkeriana (Mingus) 21.49
05. Meditations On Integration (Mingus) 25.28
06. Fables Of Faubus (Mingus) 34.03


Charlie Mingus – East Coasting (1957)

FrontCover1 One of Charles Mingus’ lesser-known band sessions, this lyrical set of five originals (plus the standard “Memories of You”) features his usual sidemen of the period (trombonist Jimmy Knepper, trumpeter Clarence Shaw, Shafi Hadi on tenor and alto, and drummer Dannie Richmond), along with pianist Bill Evans. The music stretches the boundaries of bop, is never predictable and, even if this is not one of Mingus’ more acclaimed dates, it is well worth acquiring for the playing is quite stimulating.

The composer and bass player Charles Mingus recorded East Coasting for Bethlehem in 1957, in between such classics as Tijuana Moods (RCA) and Mingus Ah Um (Columbia). In addition to featuring an early version of “Celia,” along with some numbers he never recorded again, East Coasting is notable for the presence of pianist Bill Evans, who briefly worked for Mingus before joining Miles Davis for the landmark Kind Of Blue.

CharlieMingusThis sextet session dates from 1957, when the volcanic bassist and composer was first assembling his Jazz Workshop. Mingus had already put together the core of the band that would reach its summit two years later with Mingus Ah Um, including saxophonist Shafi Hadi, trombonist Jimmy Knepper, and drummer Dannie Richmond, who would be with Mingus’s bands for the next two decades. The music has Mingus’s distinct stamp, the rhythmic aggressiveness, sudden time (and mood) shifts, contrapuntal themes, and a palette of sounds that reaches back through bop to early jazz for the vocalizing, plunger-muted horns. His bass often sounds like articulate thunder as he presses his musicians toward a unique musical vision. Completing the group are two striking soloists: the seldom-heard trumpeter Clarence Shaw, best known for his work on Mingus’s contemporaneous New Tijuana Moods, who combines thoughtful hesitancy and melodic daring; and pianist Bill Evans, whose distinctive musical presence and lyric imagination add to Mingus’s often dense harmonies. The turbulent “West Coast Ghost” and the emotionally charged “Celia” stand out. (by Stuart Brromer)


Bill Evans (piano)
Shafi Hadi (saxophone)
Jimmy Knepper (trombone)
Charles Mingus (bass)
Dannie Richmond (drums)
Clarence Shaw (trumpet)

01. Memories of You (Blake/Razaf) 4.27
02. East Coasting (Mingus) 5.13
03. West Coast Ghost (Mingus) 10.28
04. Celia (Mingus) 7.54
05. Conversation (Mingus) 5.28
06. Fifty-First Street Blues (Mingus)