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Charles Mingus' Finest Hour

Charles Mingus

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Album Review

Charles Mingus' Finest Hour, while a fine and eccentric collection of music, is only his finest hour of music on the labels owned by Universal-Emarcy, Mercury, Verve, and a few others. These include sessions where Lionel Hampton ( and not Mingus) was the bandleader. No matter. The majority, and the best of the material here, comes from the wonderful Pre-Bird set issued on Emarcy with Ted Curson, Marcus Belgrave and many others in a 25-piece orchestra that played Mingus compositions written before he met Charlie Parker. The other stuff comes from live concerts including some fine European sounds with Eric Dolphy, and some of the Bethlehem material. This is a decent look at a strange period between periods — between Atlantic and Columbia — for the giant one.

Biography

Born: April 22, 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...
Full Bio

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