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"Out There a Minute Jazz Program" with Micheal Akutagawa (archive)

Mingus Mingus Mingus
Sunday, July 3, 2011 | 10:00 to 12:00 | Specialty

Artist Song Album Label Comments
Jeff Beck Goodbye Porkpie Hat Best of Jeff Beck Sony Music, 1995 An elegy for saxophonist Lester Young, who had died two months prior to the recording session. The title refers to Young's favored headgear. Originally recorded by Mingus and his sextet in 1959 and released on the album Mingus Ah Um. It is one of the three compositions from that album that have since become jazz standards (see #s 2 and 14, below). Personnel: John Handy (sax), Booker Ervin (sax), Shafi Hadi (sax), Willie Dennis (trombone), Horace Parian (piano), Charles Mingus (bass), Dannie Richmond (drums).
Charles Mingus Better Git It in Your Soul Charles Mingus Ah Um Sony Music, 2009 The second of what have become jazz standards from this particular album. Brian Priestly writes in the additional liner notes to the album's 1998 reissue: "There are few albums in the history of jazz that open with two such strong and utterly distinctive tracks as 'Better Git It In Your Soul' and 'Goodbye Porkpie Hat.'" Personnel: Same as #1, except Jimmy Knepper (trombone) instead of Davis.
Charles Mingus Reincarnation of a Lovebird The Clown Hallmark, 2010 Originally released 1959. Not suprisingly, Mingus's music sometimes nodded to (and would attempt to reckon with in his own distinctive way) jazz "greats" and "legends" of the past. Notable among them were Duke Ellington (with whom Mingus worked and by whom, at one point, he was personally fired), Jelly Roll Morton, and Charlie Parker. This particular composition was in tribute to Parker. As a side note: Mingus's response to the many saxophone players who imitated Charlie "Bird" Parker was the composition, "If Charlie Parker were a Gunslinger, There'd be a Whole Lot of Dead Copycats"; it was released on the album Mingus Dynasty as "Gunslinging Bird". Personnel: Charles Mingus (bass), Lonnie Hillyer (trumpet), Roy Eldridge (trumpet), Charles MacPherson (sax), Eric Dolphy (sax, clarinet), Booker Ervin (sax), Jimmy Knepper (trombone), Paul Bley (piano), Tommy Flanagan (piano), Dannie Richmond (drums), Jo Jones (drums).
V/A Oh Lord, Don't Let Them Drop That Atomic Bomd On Me Hal Willner Presents Weird Nightmare: Meditations on Mingus Sony, 1992 Keith Richards, vocals; Charlie Watts, drums
Charles Mingus Adaggio Ma Non Troppo Let My Children Hear Music Sony Music, 1992 Originally released in 1971. According to George Kanzler's liner notes for the album, Mingus, from his deathbed in 1979, identified this as "The best album I ever made". "Adaggio Ma Non Troppo" is based entirely on a piano improvisation first played by Mingus in 1964 and issued on Mingus Plays Piano. It was transcribed and sent to Mingus by Hub Miller, and then orchestrated and conducted by Alan Raph. Charles McCracken, solo cello.
Charles Mingus Track A - Solo Dancer The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady MCA, 1995 Originally released in 1963. A six-part ballet, recorded in New York on 1/20/1963. Considered by many music critics to be Mingus's masterwork. Allmusic.com calls it "one of the greatest achievements in orchestration by any composer in jazz history". It is also one of the few jazz albums (or any other kind of albums) to have liner notes written by the composer's psychologist. Personnel: Rolf Ericson , Richard Williams (trumpets), Quentin Jackson (trombone), Don Butterfield (tuba), Jerome Richardson (saxs, flute), Dick Hafer (sax, flute), Charlie Mariano (sax), Jaki Byard (piano), Jay Berliner (guitar), Charles Mingus (bass, piano), Dannie Richmond (drums).
New York Ska Jazz Ensemble Haitian Fight Song S/T Moon Ska Records, 1995
Charles Mingus Orange Was the Color of Her Dress, Then Silk Blues Changes, Two Atlantic Recording Corp., 2005 Originally released 1974; re-released 1993. This Mingus quintet with Dannie Richmond (drums), Don Pullen (piano), Jack Walrath (trumpet), and George Adams (sax), recorded two albums together, Changes One and Changes Two. This composition also appears on the album Mingus Plays Piano (see below), and according to Nat Hentoff's original liner notes: "The genesis of 'Orange Was the Color of Her Hair, Then Silk Blues" was an S. Lee Pogostin play, 'A Song With Orange In It', for which Mingus wrote the music when it was produced a few years ago as part of a Robert Herridge television series. This is an expanded, more cohesively developed version of part of that score. The two main characters in the play--a musician and a hollow society girl who almost destroys him. At one point in the play, she asked the musician to write her a song with 'orange' in it (try finding a rhyme for 'orange'). 'That's how deeply she felt about music,' says Mingus scornfully. 'It's like asking someone to write a song for your new gloves or a new hairdo.'"
Charles Mingus Myself When I'm Real Mingus Plays Piano UMG Recordings, 1997 Originally released 1963. Several of the pieces on this album were entirely improvised and drew on classical music as much as jazz. Robert Spencer's Allaboutjazz.com review of the album says that Mingus's piano playing on this particular composition "sounds like Debussy plays Bill Evans, or maybe it's the other way around." He says further that "'Myself When I am Real' is like a peek into the quiet core of what makes other Mingus records so comprehensively successful. For all the clowning and braggadocio, at the center of Mingus's art is the soul of a man keenly aware of the joy and suffering that are both inescapable in life."
Mingus Orchestra The Chill of Death I Am Three (iTunes version) Sunnyside/Sue Mingus Music, 2005 The version of this piece that shows up on the album Let My Children Hear Music includes an Edgar Allen Poe-like poem, written and narrated by Mingus, equating Death to a beautiful woman.
Mary LaRose Pithecanthropus Erectus Walking Woman GM Recordings, 1999, 2004 This Mingus composition and album of the same title gained an additional measure of notoriety because it was referred to in the spoken word portion of the A3 song "Woke Up This Morning", an edited version of which became the theme song for the TV mob drama, "The Sopranos".
Quintorigo (featuring Michelle Francesconi) Bird Calls Play Mingus Sam Productions, 2008 This composition also first appeared on Mingus Ah Um (1959). It notably looks ahead to "free jazz", while also paying tribute to Charlie Parker. Brian Priestly, in his liner notes to the 1998 reissue of the album Mingus Ah Um, points out that "neither the melody nor the improvised ending are directly reminiscent of Parker, and have more to do with Mingus's role as a forerunner of the 1960s avant-garde and the way he thought it should develop." This particular Quintorigo album, Play Mingus, contains versions of twelve Mingus compositions.
Elvis Costello Hora Decubitus My Flame Burns Blue (Live with the Metropole Orkest) Deutsche Grammophon, 2005 Lyrics by Elvis Costello for the Mingus composition. The composition originally appeared on the 1963 album, Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus. The song had been titled "E's Flat. Ah's Flat Too" on the album Blues and Roots (1960, reissued 1998).
Iswhat?! Fables of Faubus You Figure It Out Iswhat?! 2004 The third of what have become jazz standards from the album Mingus Ah Um. The "Faubus" in the title is Orval E. Faubus, then-governor of Arkansas, who, in 1957, ordered in the National Guard to stop the integration of Little Rock Central High School by nine African American teenagers. President Eisenhower then ordered in the Federal Guard so as to guarantee that the integration could proceed. Sometime later, Mingus added bitterly satiric lyrics, both sung and spoken. Brian Priestly's additional liner notes to the 1998 reissue of the album draws a comparison of this composition to Kurt Weill's 1920s theater music, "making an appropriate portrait of the racist politician". Personnel: Matthew Anderson (upright bass), Jack Walker (reeds), Napoleon (human beatboxing). The third of what have become jazz standards from the album Mingus Ah Um.
Bill Frisell Freedom Hal Willner Presents Weird Nightmare: Meditations on Mingus Sony, 1992 Dr. John, vocals; Ray Davies, humming; Frisell, electric guitar, effects. The lyric poem is by Mingus.
Joni Mitchell Goodbye Porkpie Hat Mingus Asylum Records, 1979 Lyrics by Mitchell. From Mingus's final project, a collaboration with Joni Mitchell, which was to be entitled 'Mingus'. The project was unfinished at his death. Mitchell then finished the album and released it. The album also features Herbie Hancock (piano, keyboard) and Jaco Pastorius (bass).
Pete Fountain St. James Infirmary Big Band Remixed & Reinvented Essential Media Group, 2007 V/A (Chris Coco remix on this song)