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Charles Mingus Presents Charles

Mingus by Chris Pond


CDJ NO 277
Its almost scary how insanely creative Charles Mingus Presents Charles Mingus
is. The works of Charles Mingus, being performed by some of the most original
performers of the time, is nothing short of mind numbing. Mingus brings something
very special to the table. His music is very much rooted in traditional music, yet he
paints it a new face. His arrangements are very fresh and original even to this date.
He constantly changes the feel that the rhythm section plays behind the soloist,
giving the soloist even more ideas to play with. At points the music is extremely
tight, as the rhythm section smoothly shuffles like a deck of cards. However, there
are also points in which the music is much more free, allowing for wide open
interactions.
Charles Mingus features just a quartet on this album. With Eric Dolphy on alto
sax and bass clarinet, Ted Curson on trumpet, Dannie Richmond on drums, and
Charles Mingus on bass, this lineup is packed with talent. One of the highlights for
sure is Eric Dolphy on Folk Forms,No.1. The song is very hip. It mostly consists of
New Orleans type collective soloing, but with a chaotic twist. When it comes time
for Dolphy to solo, he absolutely destroys it. He plays dirty blues lines, sounding like
a twisted Lester Young, then he absolutely unloads. He unleashes 8 th note lines with
a hop, and glides over the changes like a world class speed skater. Never does he
sound quite inside the changes, but more so like hes always gliding on a parallel
plane to the harmony, acknowledging the changes in a very different way. He also
has some memorable moments during the free sections, especially near the end of
What Love.
This record is also kept fresh through the arranging of Charles Mingus. The
rhythm section often suddenly switches into double time, pays sparse shots
together, or cut in and out. Though these changes are quick, the transitions are also
very quick and smooth. The songs are beautifully thought out, and the constant
changing makes them like an epic tale, displaying different sides and pieces to the
story. The constant change of theme in Original Faubus Fables is like a flashback
of different memories filled with hatred. Mingus ability and creativity as a bass
player is also something special. Sometimes he wont walk, but instead respond to
the soloist with his own corresponding melodic ideas (Something that the great
Scott Lafaro soon after became known for). Mingus knew how to build tension in just
the right places with the use of pedals, making it swing ten times harder upon
resolving. Charles Mingus Presents Charles Mingus is filled with extremely creative

and new ideas for the time. This album gives you a peak into the mind of Mingus,
something that is really quite special.