Saturday, March 31, 2018

Charles Mingus - 1960 [1986] "Mingus Revisited"

Mingus Revisited (originally released as Pre-Bird in 1961) is an album by jazz bassist and composer Charles Mingus consisting of music that was composed before Mingus first heard Charlie Parker, hence the Pre-Bird title. The music is scored for various sized large jazz ensembles and features many soloists prominent at the time of recording. The album includes two tracks which are contrapuntal arrangements of two swing era pieces, whereby "Take the "A" Train" (left channel) is paired with a simultaneous "Exactly Like You" (right channel), and likewise "Do Nothin' Till You Hear From Me" with "I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart".

This is an LP reissue of a set that was originally titled Pre Bird because it features some of the advanced originals that Charles Mingus wrote prior to hearing Charlie Parker. The bassist leads an undisciplined but colorful 25-piece orchestra on three titles including an Eric Dolphy feature on "Bemonable Lady" while the other five tracks are by a ten-piece (including two pianos) band; Lorraine Cousins sings "Eclipse" and "Weird Nightmare." It's an interesting set of typically unconventional music by Mingus.

Mingus Revisited aka Pre-Bird is one of the legendary Mingus sessions, where the size of the band was increasing rapidly from rehearsals to the actual recording sessions. Producer Leonard Feather wrote about the incident in his book Earwitness To An Era (Part Five, chapter Westward):
Of all my experiences as a producer, none was more traumatic than the attempt, in 1960, to record an album for Mercury Records with Charles Mingus.
... After two days of crisis during which it seemed the album might never be made, I walked into the studio on the date of the session and could hardly believe my eyes. We had a twenty-two-piece orchestra, with Gunther Schuller conducting! Eric Dolphy, Clark Terry, Slide Hampton, Jimmy Knepper, Joe Farrell, Booker Ervin, Yusef Lateef and Paul Bley were among the participants.

Charles Mingus / Mingus Revisited: This Great album was originally titled "Pre-Bird" and then changed to "Mingus Revisited". By whatever name this album comes by, it is an excellent collection of songs. This one has Mingus' compositions plus two well known Duke Ellington numbers that are wonderfully interpreted by Mingus. This is a very entertaining CD. Five Stars

Track listing:

1. "Take the "A" Train" (Billy Strayhorn) / "Exactly Like You" (Jimmy McHugh/Dorothy Fields) – 3:40
2. "Prayer For Passive Resistance" – 3:57
3. "Eclipse" – 4:01
4. "Mingus Fingus No. 2" – 3:39
5. "Weird Nightmare" - 3:42
6. "Do Nothin' Till You Hear From Me" (Duke Ellington/Bob Russell) / "I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart" (Duke Ellington/Irving Mills/Henry Nemo/John Redmond) - 3:41
7. "Bemoanable Lady" - 4:30
8. "Half-Mast Inhibition" - 8:14

All compositions by Charles Mingus, except where indicated


Max Roach - drums
Gunther Schuller - conductor
Marcus Belgrave - trumpet
Ted Curson - trumpet
Clark Terry - trumpet
Hobart Dotson - trumpet
Richard Williams - trumpet
Robert Di Domenica - flute
Eric Dolphy - alto saxophone, flute
Yusuf Lateef - saxophone, flute
John LaPorta - saxophone
Danny Bank - saxophone
Bill Barron - saxophone
Joe Farrell - saxophone
Eddie Bert - trombone
Slide Hampton - trombone
Jimmy Knepper - trombone
Charles "Majeed" Greenlee - trombone
Paul Bley - piano
Roland Hanna - piano
Charles Mingus – bass
George Scott - drums
Dannie Richmond - drums
Sticks Evans - drums
Lorraine Cusson - vocals