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The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady

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Editors’ Notes

This album is Mastered for iTunes. This 1963 effort from Charles Mingus is more of a single song cycle than a standard jazz album. The esteemed bassist/composer saw this composition as a kind of ethnographic ballet, and he filled it with tumultuous mood swings and serene textures. Mingus put together an 11-piece band for the recording session, and the complexities and raw emotions of these arrangements and performances make this one of the finest releases in jazz or any genre. The horn work here is especially vibrant. Charlie Mariano's alto sax and Quentin Jackson's trombone come together like a chorus of urban voices amid the nightlife clamor. This entire album is as evocative and melodic as anything done by Mingus' hero, Duke Ellington, but its wild emotional swells foretell the sounds of more outré jazz musicians like Albert Ayler and late-period John Coltrane. An inspiring and riveting listen from a giant of modern music.

Customer Reviews


Mind-boggling is what it is. The fact that this masterpiece by Mingus hasn't yet been reviewed (or that the reviews have been erased and not begun again). Also that this album isn't his bestselling release--that this album isn't one of the bestselling releases of all time by any composer musician artist genius. Perhaps that isn't exactly mind-boggling, given the general tastes of the music-downloading masses. But it should be mind-boggling, given the unbelievable genius displayed in this work.

Listen. Mingus is, still is, even now, well after his physical existence on this earth ended, one of the greatest composers we've had, and as far as I can tell, this is the greatest thing he ever composed, and he composed a lot of great music. I won't describe it, because I can't and because it couldn't possibly do justice to this work of art. Just listen to it. If you're afraid of committing the 10 bucks to something you might not like or listen to often, go get if from your public library, if they have it. That's how I first heard this.

Whatever you do, go listen.

A True Classic

This was the first jazz album I ever listened to. Thank God I might that decision.

Essential Mingus

Every great artist that stands the test of time has that album (hopefully a few) that is 100% pure perfection. "The Black Saint and The Sinner Lady" is 100% pure perfection.

It's sad that jazz is so under-rated in the U.S. But if you are new to jazz - You can't go wrong with one of the Big M's of Jazz -- Mingus, Miles or Monk. And this album is a great sonic place to visit.


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...
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