||Goodbye Pork Pie Crust
Charles Mingus is revered in the Hole as a bandleader, composer, musician and founder of the first musician-owned and operated record label, Debut. Mingus was very demanding of his bands' musicians, often hiring unknown talent and inspiring them to play beyond their level. Tensions carry over into the documented art, and the Mingus recordings are an extensively rich and adventurous collection. He plays with the names too, like Duke and Miles and Coltrane and Monk and Dizzy and Bird, but it's his compositions that launched us INTO THE OUTER years before crusties made it to the moon.
Everthing he ever recorded is probally worth having, but we have a few suggestions for you to make it simpler: A good introductory complitation is "Mingus Ah Hum", but If you are a modern digital enthusiast who needs amazing production quality, get the Hal Wilner tribute "Weird Nightmare." This will send you in deep. Then come back for any of it. Any versions of songs such as "Haitian Fight Song", "Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting," "Orange Was the Colour of Her Dress, Then Blue Silk," and endless others are masterpieces. We also like the album "The Shoes of the Fisherman's Wife are some Jive Ass Slippers."
For the more classically inclined we recommend "The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady." The pirAnts will try to come up with a qualitative index for you in the future. In the meantime, you can explore these sights:
Charles Mingus Home Page
The Real Mingus Web
The music of Mingus is being interpreted in new and exciting ways. In San Francisco, Mingus Amungus takes on challenging material (i.e. "Orange Was The Colour of Her Dress, Then Blue Silk") and features a dance troupe and hip hop portions of the show. Bass driven and horn happy, check out their site at www.mingusamungus.com. Meanwhile, the Mingus Big Band still rocks in NYC and occasionally plays a show elsewhere.