Charles Mingus

Take the 'A' Train

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Essentially, this is the complete set of Mingus Revisited and Mercury's Pre-Bird, recorded on May 24 and 25 in 1960. There are five tracks with a tentet that includes Eric Dolphy, Ted Curson, Yusef Lateef, Dannie Richmond, Roland Hanna, Joe Farrell, and Jimmy Knepper, Booker Ervin, and Lorraine Cussen on vocals on "Weird Nightmare" and "Eclipse." There is a big band who recorded on the second day and includes all of the above except for Ervin and Cussen, but adds players like Paul Bley on piano, Bill Barron on saxophone, a full-on trumpet section that features not only Curson but also Marcus Belgrave, Clark Terry, Hobart Dotson, and Richard Williams, and a trombone section with Slide Hampton, Eddie Bert, and Charles "Majid" Greenlee. Other players include flutist Robert Didomenica, alto saxman John LaPorta, Charles McCracken on cello, and a trio of percussionists that features Max Roach on "Half-Mast Inhibition." These strange but wonderful tracks include a beautiful "Take the 'A' Train," that comes right out of "Exactly Like You," and the beautiful "Bemoanable Lady," and the speculative "Prayer for Passive Resistance." This Portuguese issue also features -- confusingly -- a 17-minute version of "Orange Was the Color of Her Dress Then Silk Blue" from 1970 (taken from the album Charles Mingus in Paris) with a band that included Charles McPherson, Jaki Byard, Eddie Preston, Richmond, and Bobby Lee Jones. This is packaged in a slipcase and designed to look something like a Blue Note Rudy Van Gelder disc. It has the look and feel of a pirate, but who knows?

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