Charles Mingus' Finest Hour, while a fine and eccentric collection of music, is only his finest hour of music on the labels owned by Universal-Emarcy, Mercury, Verve, and a few others. These include sessions where Lionel Hampton ( and not Mingus) was the bandleader. No matter. The majority, and the best of the material here, comes from the wonderful Pre-Bird set issued on Emarcy with Ted Curson, Marcus Belgrave and many others in a 25-piece orchestra that played Mingus compositions written before he met Charlie Parker. The other stuff comes from live concerts including some fine European sounds with Eric Dolphy, and some of the Bethlehem material. This is a decent look at a strange period between periods -- between Atlantic and Columbia -- for the giant one.
AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek
feat: Lionel Hampton