Charles Mingus: The Clown

Album review
Charles Mingus: The Clown

Charles Mingus

The Clown

Label: Speakers Corner
Media: LP
Genre: Jazz

Charles Mingus’ ascension from bebop sideman through cool-school/Third Stream experimenter to his position as one of the greatest composer/leaders in the jazz pantheon had been completed by the time of this, his second session for Atlantic, in 1957. Here Mingus leads an excellent quintet of then-unknown players: Jimmy Knepper on trombone, Shafi Hadi (then Curtis Porter) on alto and tenor sax, Wade Legge on piano, and Danny Richmond on drums. Knepper stayed with Mingus for several years, and Richmond all the way until the end, but the other two had fairly brief recording careers, and never sounded as good in any other context as they did with Mingus. The call-and-response of “Haitian Fight Song” and Mingus’ first original blues on record, “Bee Cee,” are as rootsy as a swamp, despite chordal voicings that evoke Ellington and even Monk. We also get “Reincarnation of a Lovebird,” a kaleidoscopic homage to Charlie Parker, and, on the title track, one of those narratives with accompaniment Mingus used so effectively over the years. This classic date richly deserves the Speakers Corner deluxe production it gets with this reissue. 

More Info

  • primary artist, Charles Mingus

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