4 Songs, 39 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

This 1963 effort from Charles Mingus is more of a single song cycle than a standard jazz album. The esteemed bassist/composer saw this composition as a kind of ethnographic ballet, and he filled it with tumultuous mood swings and serene textures. Mingus put together an 11-piece band for the recording session, and the complexities and raw emotions of these arrangements and performances make this one of the finest releases in jazz or any genre. The horn work here is especially vibrant. Charlie Mariano's alto sax and Quentin Jackson's trombone come together like a chorus of urban voices amid the nightlife clamor. This entire album is as evocative and melodic as anything done by Mingus' hero, Duke Ellington, but its wild emotional swells foretell the sounds of more outré jazz musicians like Albert Ayler and late-period John Coltrane. An inspiring and riveting listen from a giant of modern music.

EDITORS’ NOTES

This 1963 effort from Charles Mingus is more of a single song cycle than a standard jazz album. The esteemed bassist/composer saw this composition as a kind of ethnographic ballet, and he filled it with tumultuous mood swings and serene textures. Mingus put together an 11-piece band for the recording session, and the complexities and raw emotions of these arrangements and performances make this one of the finest releases in jazz or any genre. The horn work here is especially vibrant. Charlie Mariano's alto sax and Quentin Jackson's trombone come together like a chorus of urban voices amid the nightlife clamor. This entire album is as evocative and melodic as anything done by Mingus' hero, Duke Ellington, but its wild emotional swells foretell the sounds of more outré jazz musicians like Albert Ayler and late-period John Coltrane. An inspiring and riveting listen from a giant of modern music.

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