Simply put, Charles Mingus: The Complete Columbia and RCA Albums Collection contains some of the most vital and important modern jazz ever produced. Examining a fertile period that stretches from the late 1950s to the early 1970s, the inclusive ten-CD set includes such masterpieces as Tijuana Moods (1957) (now 2 CDs); Mingus Ah Um (1959), Mingus Dynasty (1959), Alternate Takes (1959), Let My Children Hear Music (1971) and the double disc, Charles Mingus And Friends In Concert (1972). The addition of Epitaph (1989), which captures an all-star ensemble led by Gunther Schuller interpreting Mingus's epic composition, rounds out a stunning portrait of the extraordinary bassist, composer and bandleader, who, in the banner year of 2012, would have celebrated his ninetieth birthday.
By the late 1950s, Mingus had hit his stride, devising a blues-based music that blended formal composition with open-ended improvisation while drawing in musical strands from all of jazz history. This brilliant incorporation of styles can be heard on landmarks ranging from Tijuana Moods to Let My Children Hear Music (both recordings singled out by Mingus as his favorites albums). His Columbia debut, Mingus Ah Um, recorded in the fateful jazz year of 1959, introduced two signature pieces, –Goodbye Porkpie Hat" and –Better Git It In Your Soul." Among the incomparable players that can be heard throughout these recordings are saxophonists Booker Ervin and John Handy, trombonist Jimmy Knepper and, of course, Mingus's right-hand-man, drummer Dannie Richmond. Two rare tracks have also been added: a 1957 performance of Mingus's Third-Stream composition "Revelations," and "Non-Sectarian Blues," a duet with the pianist Dave Brubeck recorded in 1962.
The set's booklet features photos from the various recording sessions as well as liner notes by Sue Mingus, Charles's wife and executor of his estate, which provide an intimate study of an intense and complex man, one who produced some of the most exciting and expressive sounds jazz will ever know.
- Mingus Ah Um (Columbia 1959), his major label debut, is his best known and best-selling album, and contains the first recordings of two of his signature songs -- "Goodbye Porkpie Hat" and "Better Git It In Your Soul."
- Also included is "Epitaph," Mingus's –magnum opus," an extended composition for a 31-piece orchestra, receiving both its debut performance and first recording at Lincoln Center in 1989.
1-2) Tijuana Moods (1957) [2 CDs]
3) Mingus Ah Um (1959)
4) Mingus Dynasty (1959)
5) Alternate Takes (1959)
6) Let My Children Hear Music (1971)
7-8) Charles Mingus & Friends (1972) [2 CDs]
9-10) Epitaph (1989) [2 CDs]