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Charles Mingus: Cumbia & Jazz Fusion

Album Notes

Personnel includes: Charles Mingus (vocals, piano, bass, percussion); Mauricio Smith (soprano & alto saxophones, flute, piccolo); George Adams (tenor saxophone, alto flute); Ricky Ford (tenor saxophone, percussion); Paul Jeffrey (tenor saxophone, oboe); Jack Walrath (trumpet, percussion); Jimmy Knepper (trombone, bass trombone); Gary Anderson (bass & contrabass clarinets); Gene Scholtes (bassoon); Danny Mixon (piano, organ); Bob Neloms (piano); Dannie Richmond (drums); Daniel Gonzales (congas).

Producers: Ilhan Mimaroglu, Daniele Senatore.

Engineers: Bobby Warner, Aurelio Rossitto, Carmine Rubino.

Recorded at Atlantic Studios and Record Plant Studios, New York, New York; Dirmaphon Studio, Rome, Italy in 1976 and 1977. Originally released on Atlantic (8801).

In the mid-1970s, Mingus organized two very different ensembles for two extended works, each clocking in over 20 minute in length. The title piece makes imaginative use of a varied woodwind/reed section (including oboe, bass clarinet and bassoon) and a large percussion section. The percussionists lend the proceedings some Latin and African overtones, the brass writing is full and swooping and the reeds have an Ellingtonian air of the exotic. The music conjures images of a wild yet sophisticated private party in a jungle mansion somewhere near the equator.

The other piece is "Music For 'Todo Modo.'" Recorded in Rome, this features Mingus' quintet joined by several Italian musicians. It sounds like it could be a film soundtrack--it alternates between rollicking, blues-flavored swing and mournful, regal-sounding melodies. There's plenty of great, heartfelt playing on both pieces, courtesy of George Adams (tenor sax), Jack Walrath (trumpet) and Ricky Ford (tenor sax). Drummer Dannie Richmond provides fleet, joyous propulsion throughout. If you long to hear the fire of Mingus tempered by extended, thoughtful compositions, this (along with LET MY CHILDREN HEAR MUSIC) is a worthy investment.


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