A set of incredible records from Charles Mingus – all presented together in one mighty nice package! First up is Mingus Moves – a fantastic fresh new chapter in the career of Charles Mingus – a set that features the addition of two key players who would really shape his sound in the 70s – Don Pullen on piano and George Adams on tenor, both completely wonderful here! The group also features excellent trumpet from Roland Hampton, a player we don't know from many other settings – and the set also features some really nice vocal work from Honi Gordon and Doug Hammond. Titles include "Canon", "Moves", "Wee", "Flowers For A Lady", "Opus 3", and "Newcomer". CD also features bonus tracks – "Big Alice" and "The Call". Changes is key 70s work from Charles Mingus – an album that was recorded over the course of three days of creative activity at the end of 1974, but somehow split into two different albums under the Changes name! The lineup here is prime 70s Mingus – George Adams on tenor, Jack Walrath on trumpet, and Don Pullen on piano – young players who really give a fresh voice to Mingus' musical ideas, and help him find this beautiful late life sense of color, tone, and timing that's completely sublime! Titles on this second volume include "Sue's Changes", "Devil Blues", "Remember Rockefeller At Attica", "Free Cell Block F Tis Nazi USA", "Black Bats & Poles", "For Harry Carney", and "Duke Ellington's Sound Of Love" – which features a guest appearance by Marcus Belgrave on trumpet and Jackie Paris on vocals. On 3 Or 4 Shades Of Blues, Charles Mingus is returning to the soulful gospel-influenced mode he swung big in the early 60s! The record's something of a later predecessor of the classics Blues & Roots for Atlantic and Mingus (x5) for Impulse – and the style is slightly less dramatic, but still quite steeped in soulful explorations that feature plenty of notes from the bluer side of the spectrum! Players include George Coleman and Ricky Ford on tenor, Jack Walrath on trumpet, and Larry Coryell on guitar – and titles include new takes on "Better Git Hit In Your Soul" and "Goodbye Porkpie Hat" – plus"Nobody Knows", "Noddin Ya Head Blues", and "Three Or Four Shades Of Blues". Next is Cumbia & Jazz Fusion – one of the most enigmatic albums that Charles Mingus ever recorded – especially in his later years! The set features two very long tracks done by Mingus for use in a film about cocaine traffic
between New York and Columbia – but considering the nature of the music, and the freely exploratory style, both numbers here stand very well on their own! Although touched with some of the Latin influences you might expect from the title, the sounds are often darker and more brooding than, say, the Mingus style on the classic Tijuana Moods set. And instead, there's a very serious soundtrack-like vibe going on through most of the set – larger jazz orchestrations used to beautifully underscore subtle themes, and breakout solo moments from players who include Mauricio Smith on flute, Paul Jeffrey on tenor sax, Jack Walrath on trumpet, and Jimmy Knepper on trombone. The album also features a fair bit of added percussion – and features two long tracks, "Cumbia & Jazz Fusion" and "Music For Todo Modo". Me Myself An Eye is complicated later work from Charles Mingus – a great illustration of the way his power to command a large ensemble never wavered as the years went on! The album features two different large groups of players – filled with modernists young and old – including Ricky Ford, George Coleman, and Michael Brecker on tenors; Ronni Cuber and Pepper Adams on baritone; Randy Brecker and Jack Walrath on trumpets; Lee Konitz on alto, Larry Coryell on guitar, Slide Hampton on trombone, and Eddie Gomez on bass. Side one features the 30 minute track "Three Worlds Of Drums", and side two contains a remake of "Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting", plus "Devil Woman" and "Carolyn Keki Mingus". Something Like A Bird is one of the last albums Charles Mingus ever gave us – before departing this planet way way too soon! The set shows the increasing sophistication of Mingus' music in these later years – a mode that almost echoes the path that Duke Ellington would take in his final decade – a move towards some larger-form material that still holds onto all the raw energy of the early days, but finds a way to not only bridge larger musical ideas – but musical generations as well! As part of this, the set's got a wonderful lineup – with Lee Konitz on alto, Pepper Adams on baritone sax, George Coleman on tenor, Eddie Gomez on bass, and Joe Chambers on drums – and titles include the long title track, "Something Like A Bird", split up over 2 sides of the LP, plus "Farewell Farwell".
(A beautiful package – all albums in their original covers, with new artwork for the outtakes – in a slipcover, with a bonus booklet of notes!)