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Jazz Composers Workshop

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Album Review

The complex music on this LP finds bassist Charles Mingus looking toward contemporary classical music in some of the rather cool-toned arrangements. It was not until later in 1955 that he found the right combination of influences in which to express himself, best but these slightly earlier performances have their moments. Four of the selections feature tenor-saxophonist Teo Macero, pianist Wally Cirillo, drummer Kenny Clarke and Mingus in a quartet while the other five tracks showcase a sextet with Macero, George Barrow on tenor and baritone and clarinetist-altoist John LaPorta. [The 2003 reissue boasts improved sound and a bonus track: an alternate take of "Body and Soul."]


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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