Thursday, January 26, 2012

Mingus & Me

One of the albums I bought when first the jazz bug bit was Charles Mingus, Three or Four Shades of Blue.  At the time I was very interested in jazz guitar.  The album appealed to me chiefly because of the presence of Larry Coryell, Philip Catherine, and John Scofield.  I can't say that I really had any clue about Mingus at the time and anyway the album is a pretty atypical in the selection of instruments.  It has a much more seventies, fusion feel than one associates with Mingus.  

However, it is pure Mingus in the power of the arrangements.  This album was also the beginning of an enduring love for Mingus' composition 'Goodbye Pork Pie Hat.'  I have uploaded that song.  Here is the solo order for that one song, thanks to Discogs:
Soloist [1st] – George Mraz Soloist [2nd] – Larry Coryell Soloist [3rd] – Philip Catherine Soloist [4th] – George Coleman Soloist [5th] – Charles Mingus Soloist [6th] – Larry Coryell, Philip Catherine
Meanwhile, I have been yearning to do another post on Booker Ervin.  Ervin was a wonderful tenor player with a fine number of recordings that no one but yours truly seems to know about.  I won't do it now, but I did post MDM (Monk, Duke, and Me) from Mingus' album MingusHere is the lineup:


  1. It's great that you have been been able to post a few more blogs recently. On recent train journeys I have been able to use the free WiFi to listen to your 365 station on my I-Pad, but I forget to make a note of particular tracks that I have enjoyed. The blog provides a great reminder, but one David Murray track has eluded me; I only heard it once, but I think it was 'Sad Kind Of Love' from his Latin Big Band. Was this track on the playlist?
    The Mingus Three or Four Shades of Blues album should surely have a health warning sticker on it.
    It's ironic that this Atlantic recording was Mingus's biggest seller and I am sure its success helped his finances a lot, but he was ill and in decline. Gene Santoro's excellent book on Mingus 'Myself when I am real' gives an insight to the background to this recording and the equally flawed 'Cumbia and Jazz Fusion ' recorded about the same time. I was quite glad when someone borrowed those two LPs and never returned them.

    Best wishes


  2. MrD: your note warmed my heart. It's nice to know some of my friends and readers are still checking out the blog and listening to the station.

    Yes, 'Sad Kind of Love' by David Murray is still playing. It's from one of Murray's large ensemble albums, "Now Is
    Another Time." I don't think I wrote a post on that one.

    I wish that readers could listen to particular tracks after or while reading about them on the blog. Unfortunately, that is illegal. I am trying to write a blog post on every piece of music I play on my station, so listeners will at least be able to go the other way.

    I tried to qualify my comments on "Three or Four Shades of Blue." I like the album a lot more than you do, apparently. I find the build up of tension between solos to be very compelling. Of course, it may be just one of those things I heard when I was young and foolish. Either way, it is not really a Mingus album in the most basic sense. It is an all-star lineup, fusion-oriented, with some remarkable solos.

    Thanks for the comment!