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Charles Mingus: Oh Yeah

Album Reviews:

Uncut (p.115) - 4 stars out of 5 - "[With] a surreal sound that reaches its peak on the apocalyptic 'Hog Callin' Blues"..."

Album Notes

Personnel: Charles Mingus (vocals, bass); Rahsaan Roland Kirk (tenor saxophone, manzello, stritch, flute, siren); Booker Ervin (tenor saxophone); Jimmy Knepper (trombone); Doug Watkins (bass); Dannie Richmond (drums).

Recorded at Atlantic Studios, New York, New York on November 6, 1961. Originally released on Atlantic (1377). Includes liner notes by Nat Hentoff.

For an artist as perpetually re-inventing as Mingus, it's almost a given that one album will be very unlike the next. OH YEAH is, in fact, quite different than the bassist/composer's other releases for two reasons: Mingus plays piano throughout the entire set, and he sings--not the standard grunts and exhortations that one usually hears from Mingus as bandleader, but an actual hoarse, blues-rattled vocal directly into the microphone. If this weren't enough to distort his already unpredictable program, the compositions, though based primarily on blues patterns, are infused with even more frenzied energy than usual and range into free-form instrumental explorations that shove at structural boundaries.

The musicians, including the wonderfully individualistic trombonist Jimmy Knepper and the inspired Rahsaan Roland Kirk, sound like a drunken congregation ascending to heaven after the world's most beautiful train wreck. The musical and emotional energy is raw and powerful, pouring out of rattle-trap tracks like "Hog Callin' Blues," the Gospel-based "Ecclusiastics," the hilarious nod to Fats Waller in "Eat That Chicken," and the psychedelic freak-out of "Passions Of A Man." The bonus track, a 25-minute interview Mingus gave to producer Nesuhi Ertegun, is an additional surprise on an album already full of surprises.


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