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Charles Mingus


Love Chant

Stuttgart Vol 1

Stuttgart Vol 2

Stuttgart Vol 3
Artist Description

Charles Mingus was perhaps the most prodigious bass player ever recorded in the jazz world. From his debut in 1952 (ironically on the Debut label), he poured out dozens of albums from around the world, both live and from the studio. This offering, originally released on Lp by Unique Records in the mid 1960ís, was a live performance in Stuttgart, German from one of Mingusí many fabled European tours. On this day, April 28th, 1964, Mingus was complimented by as fine a quartet as could be found. The tenor sax of Cliff Jordan was simply superb. The incomparable Eric Dolphy added alto sax, flute and bass clarinet. Jaki Byard handled the piano while Danny Richmond was memorable on the drums. In fact perhaps the most notable highlight of this album is not Mingus at all (although his performance is truly wonderful). For this is quite probably the very last recording of the genius of Eric Dolphy. After getting established with Chico Hamilton in the late 50ís, Dolphy first joined Mingus and toured with him intermittently while also becoming an early member of John Coltraneís group. By 1964, Dolphy had rejoined Mingus for his European tour, of which this concert was part. The tour finished a few days after his Stuttgart concert and Dolphy stayed on in Europe to fill some dates as a single. Shockingly, and without warning he became ill and died within a matter of days, on June 29th in Berlin. Thus this Mingus recording only two months earlier may serve as a symbol of his legacy. Also adding texture to this concert in tenor Clifford Jordan, who excelled during this period with Mingus after his start with Max Roach. Pianist Jaki Bayard was a long time Mingus associate whose vast knowledge of European music and his prolific ability as an arranger made the Mingus European portions of their careers a highlight. Drummer Danny Richmond, who could also sport a mean tenor sax, was another long term Mingus associate who brought the all round musical talents that made the group blossom on this night in Germany. In later years, it was Richmond who was most influential in the pop scene with British superstars Joe Cocker and Elton John. To wax on about Charles Mingus is for the most part to state the obvious to even the most basic jazz fan. Born in Arizona, Mingus was as West Coast as you could be, growing up in Watts and thriving on the 1940s music scene that saw him grow with the association of Louis Armstrong, Lionel Hampton, and his mentor Red Callender, the dean of Los Angeles bass men. In the early 50ís he teamed with Max Roach in a record company. By the mid 50s the first variations of the Mingus Quartet originated. For the rest of his life he maintained his status as a jazz icon, an unlikely position for a bass player. And yet, to the true jazz fan Charles Mingus was to the bass what Duke Ellington was to the piano. Enough said!