Charles Mingus

Goodbye Pork Pie Hat [Jazz Hour]

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Charles Mingus was a composer in the vein of Ellington, exploring timbre as well as tonality, and exploiting the strengths of his sidemen, a virtuoso bassist, and, the object of much bootlegging, particularly in Europe. GOODBYE PORK PIE HAT is one of those bootlegs. The only clue to the set's origins given is that it was recorded in Europe ca. 1964.

Once you've resigned your conscience to the fact that none of the musicians involved will receive any royalties from your purchase, you can get down to some serious listening. This album presents Mingus' mid-60s ensemble in its prime. The grooves throughout are loose yet driving, with Mingus and drummer Dannie Richmond marching in lock-step. Mingus leads the way, taking the first solo in "Orange Was The Color Of Her Dress," and unaccompanied solos in "Fables Of Faubus" and the title tune. The latter two explore many tempos and textures from straight-ahead to free jazz and considerable dissonance in their nearly 54 combined minutes. Poor health would force Mingus into semi-retirement shortly after this recording was made, so perhaps we should be thanking the bootleggers with providing us with another example of his genius, despite their clandestine ways.

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