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C Jam Blues-The Greatest Records Ever


The Greatest Records Ever: ¨C Jam Blues¨ from Mingus At Carnegie Hall

This series is an opportunity to reflect on some of the amazing music that has come into our lives. From the popular and celebrated to the unknown, obscure and/or ignored, we will touch on some music that you know and love and surely some works that you absolutely hate. As Jazz listeners and lovers, it is fair to say that there is no such thing as The Greatest Record Ever. Fore we know that there are only, “The Greatest Records Ever….This Week.”

We start the series off with a bang: ¨C Jam Blues¨ from Charles Mingus’ 1974 album, ¨Mingus At Carnegie Hall.¨ Recorded live in January 1974, Mingus assembles an All Star ensemble comprised of current and former band members. Starting with Mingus himself, we have a brilliant composer, bandleader and master provocateur, who happens to play bass as easily as fish move through water. A student of Duke Ellington and Charlie Parker, Mingus is a passionate bridge between the old, the older and the new.

As for the rest of the core group, we have Mingus’ right hand man, drummer Dannie Richmond who would put in 20 years work in the Mingus gold mine. He is joined by baritone saxophonist and founding member of the World Sax Quartet, Hamiet Bluiett. The group also included the good cop/bad cop, inside/outside tag team of saxophonist George Adams and pianist Don Pullen, who together would pretty much stay with Mingus until his death. Afterwards, Pullen and Adams along w/ Richmond continued their reign of terror on musical underachievers.

The Mingus core unit is augmented by guests and former Mingus alumni, like alto saxophonist, Charles McPherson and trumpeter, Jon Faddis. Surprisingly, on both alto and tenor saxophone, there is the great, John Handy, and finally, the peerless, Rahsaan Roland Kirk is featured on tenor saxophone and the uncommon wind instrument called the Stritch.  

Assembled together this crew is simply dangerous and put to the task of dismantling and then, reassembling Duke Ellington’s classic, ¨C Jam Blues” they get to work with precision and zest. Unbelievable solo after unbelievable solo, surprise interchange after surprise interchange, when the smoke finally clears 24 minutes later, I'm sure you’ll agree that you just experienced something special. How special? We’ll just leave that up to you, but on this listener’s meter, this recording gets a 12 of 10 score!!! That should qualify it as one of “The Greatest Records Ever...This Week!”

Written By: Homer Jackson – Director, Philadelphia Jazz Project

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Tags : TheGreatestRecordsEver CharlesMingus DukeEllington C-JamBlues DannieRichmond GeorgeAdams DonPullen RahsaanRolandKirk TheGreatestRecordsEver….ThisWeek CharlieParker MingusAtCarnegieHall HamietBluiett JohnHandy


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