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Charly Mingus: Live in Stuttgart 1964, Vol. 1

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Album Review

Charles Mingus was recorded many times during his spring tour of Europe in 1964, though almost all of the resulting LPs and CDs are bootlegs. Live in Stuttgart 1964 represents only a portion of the full concert, starting with Jaki Byard's eclectic "ATFWUSA" (sometimes introduced as "ATFWYOU" during the tour), a piano solo tribute to Art Tatum, Fats Waller, and other unnamed early piano greats. "Sophisticated Lady" is a subdued duet by Mingus and Byard. The full quintet is only present for the bassist's raucous, mocking "Fables of Faubus," a slap at racist Arkansas Governor Orvil Faubus, which runs over 41 minutes, though this version is obviously dubbed from an earlier LP source, as it has been edited together. Eric Dolphy's bass clarinet and Clifford Jordan's tenor sax are particularly effective in this extended work, which surprisingly never runs out of steam in spite of its length. The sound is decent mono, though it is unclear if its from a broadcast or illicit soundboard recording. It is a shame that the full concert hasn't been made available in a two-CD set since tapes of it have been widely circulated among collectors, as the performances stand up to other Mingus concerts with this lineup, which was taped after trumpeter Johnny Coles' unfortunate health emergency that caused him to be hospitalized.


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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