Charles Mingus

Live at Montreux 1975

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Just over two years before Lou Gehrig's Disease robbed him of the ability to perform, Charles Mingus is still very much at the height of his powers during this 1975 set at the Montreux Jazz Festival. With the band that backed him on the albums Changes One and Changes Two (pianist Don Pullen, tenor saxophonist George Adams, trumpeter Jack Walrath, and drummer Dannie Richmond), Mingus offers a program that is both provocative and entertaining. "Devil Blues," with Adams' rough-hewn vocals, is an uneven opener, while the bassist introduces the following piece as "Free Cell Block F, 'Tis Nazi USA," though the piece is actually a rollicking treatment of his "Peggy's Blue Skylight." Baritone saxophonist Gerry Mulligan and trumpeter Benny Bailey are added guests for a passionate take of "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat" and a spirited "Take the 'A' Train." While this quintet doesn't rank with Mingus' matchless sextet of 1964, the music from this concert has stood the test of time.

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