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Tijuana Moods

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Album Review

Charles Mingus recorded many superb albums, but his personal favorite was Tijuana Moods, which was inspired by a visit to the Mexican border town. His sole release for RCA Victor, the original record's five tracks were not recorded as complete takes, but spliced together afterward, though the finished product didn't see the light of day for nearly five years. Since then it was reissued in 1986 in a two-disc set with an alternate composite done after Mingus' death and adding one unissued track (" A Colloquial Dream [Scenes in the City]"), while a 2001 reissue added a number of fragmentary takes as well. This reissue, with new liner notes by Nat Hentoff, while retaining the original notes by Martin Williams, eliminates all the added material except for the one bonus track. It's debatable whether this is Charles Mingus' best overall recording, though it should easily be considered one of his top efforts. The cast includes veteran trombonist Jimmy Knepper and drummer Dannie Richmond (who became a regular in the bassist's various groups), along with promising but obscure musicians including pianist Bill Triglia, saxophonist Shafi Hadi (formerly Curtis Porter), and trumpeter Clarence Gene Shaw. Highlights include the exciting "Ysabel's Table Dance" and the haunting treatment of the standard "Flamingo," featuring Shaw on muted trumpet and Knepper.


Born: 22 April 1922 in Nogales, AZ

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s

Irascible, demanding, bullying, and probably a genius, Charles Mingus cut himself a uniquely iconoclastic path through jazz in the middle of the 20th century, creating a legacy that became universally lauded only after he was no longer around to bug people. As a bassist, he knew few peers, blessed with a powerful tone and pulsating sense of rhythm, capable of elevating the instrument into the front line of a band. But had he been just a string player, few would know his name today. Rather, he was...
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Tijuana Moods, Charles Mingus
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