East Coasting (Remastered 2013)

East Coasting (Remastered 2013)

Charlie Mingus’ East Coasting was recorded in 1957, the same year he laid down the classic Tijuana Moods (which wasn’t released until 1962). This lesser-known album features an excellent band that includes Mingus regulars—trumpeter Clarence Shaw, trombonist Jimmy Knepper, saxophonist Shafi Hadi, drummer Dannie Richmond—and pianist Bill Evans. The only non-original piece is the opener, Eubie Blake and Andy Razaf’s “Memories of You,” which has a fine arrangement and warm, buttery trombone from Knepper. The title track sports a fine head and swings in muscular Mingus fashion. On the bluesy “West Coast Ghost,” Evans and the horn players toss phrases back and forth with great aplomb. “Fifty-First Street Blues” opens with the rhythm section fashioning a strong foundation, before the horns—by turns smooth and stuttering—enter. Hadi steps forward and makes a compelling statement on tenor sax before Shaw lightens the mood with his trumpet. Richmond takes out brushes and a bell for the atmospheric “Celia,” which features Shaw’s muted trumpet and Evan’s intriguing piano. An underappreciated gem.

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