Monday, June 15, 2009

mo' mingus

back home from attending my youngest niece's high school grad in new joisey, realizing that her parents' 25th wedding anniversary will be on the 30th of this month (and my sister-in-law in illinois' 50th b-day will be on the 24th, which we'll celebrate at my sweetie's family's lake house in ohio in august). don't have to work till tom'w, so i have time to listen to some more '64 mingus goodies that arrived in the magic mailbox while i was otherwise occupied. (inasmuch as i lament the passing of rekkid store culcha -- and i decided to forego a trip to the princeton record exchange in favor of visiting my mom and pop as often as i could over a short four-day span -- i dig the convenience of being able to think of something and snag it off amazon before the thought departs.)

revenge! is sue mingus' release (from back when she was still confiscating bootlegs she found in stores, before she figured "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" and started posting vid clips on youtube) of the april 17th, 1964 show at the salle wagram in paris. i first heard parts of this on a mixtape i got from rashied muhammad (trumpeter and intelligence analyst, with whom i had interesting discussions of racism and patriotism as well as music) while i was an instructor at the sac nco academy, and subsequently owned it as a bootleg called meditations, probably my all-time favorite illicit mingus artifact. it's from the night that trumpeter johnny coles fell ill, and includes the version of "so long eric" (curiously mistitled "goodbye pork pie hat") that appeared (up to dolphy's solo) on the first side of the vinyl great concert of charles mingus, with dolphy's solo from the following night appended at the beginning of side two. here you get the complete "so long" from the 17th (the only number on which coles performs), along with "peggy's blue skylight" (first version i ever heard), "orange was the color of her dress," "meditations," "fables of faubus" and "parkeriana."

cornell 1964 is from a couple of weeks before the naacp benefit show that produced the town hall concert alb, recorded at the ivy league school in ithaca, n.y., where my uncle once met eleanor roosevelt while washing dishes in his fraternity house, and where teenaged jon paisley and i used to pretend to be college students while shooting pool at the student union, buying wine with his fake i.d., and dredging the crates at the record co-op. it's a complete concert with coles, something we haven't heard before, and the recording quality's good enough to catch mingus' vocal cues to the band (curiously clearer than his audience announcements) as well as all of the instruments. besides the usual suspects, there's a version of duke's "take the 'a' train" that they'd essay again onstage in oslo (with byard striding like fats waller the same way he did on the paris "parkeriana"), a "so long eric" taken at a slower tempo than at town hall and in europe, "when irish eyes are smiling" in honor of st. paddy's day, and waller's "jitterbug waltz" that dolphy had previously waxed as a leader on iron man back in '63. (ADDENDUM: on cornell 1964, we get to hear the band breaking in the new material. by town hall, they'd mastered it, and in europe, they'd transform it nightly.)

maybe next year, if my sweetie 'n' i make it up north to visit the jersey shore and the spots on long island where i spent my formative years, we can make it to the jazz standard in manhattan on a monday night to catch one of the mingus legacy bands (assuming they're still holding down the gig by then). perhaps we can even drag along my jazz-loving brother-in-law and big sis for the evening.


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