Mingus Unit

Like A Love Supreme, Charles Mingus Presents Charles Mingus documented four timeless masterpieces. Unlike John Coltrane’s spirituality, Mingus’s joints are filled with humanity. Charles Mingus Quartet (trumpeter Ted Curson, alto saxophonist/bass clarinetist Eric Dolphy, bassist/bandleader Charles Mingus, and drummer Dannie Richmond) is at its best. The musicians feel each other’s vibes, and play together like soldiers in combat, especially the level of energy they bring in “Folk Forms, No. 1,” which sets off the atmosphere for the next controversial piece. “Original Faubus Fables” is one of the most powerful and political jazz compositions in which Mingus and his musicians exercise their freedom of speech, “Boo! Nazi Fascist Supremacist / Boo! Ku Klux Klan (with your evil plan).” There is so much madness coming out of this tune, particularly the shouting from Mingus and Richmond. The screaming of Curson’s trumpet solo is just crazy. Once the band lets the chaos out of its system, it drops the mellow groove on “What Love.” Although the insanity is toned down, the spontaneous never left the building. The energetic mood picks up again on the forth track, which has a long title, “All the Things You Could Be By Now If Sigmund Freud’s Wife Was Your Mother.” CMPCM is amazing, and it shows how daring these musicians were willing to push their art to the limit. Imagine watching these cats in live action; it must be a rewarding experience.