Charles Mingus – Mingus Ah Um

Charles Mingus – Mingus Ah Um

subtitled: Part 1 of 3, in which Aaron celebrates 10 years of living in his current town, and gets 3 Mingus albums for $6 (and his mind gets blown). MINI SERIES!!!

The Preamble:

I’m a jazzhead from way back. I mean, as a kid, sitting there with the headphones on, digging through my grandparents’ swing records… But then flirting with getting stuffed in lockers by the tech hall meatheads waaay back in high school. I mean, when the lugs (all deference, Mr. 1537) were listening to AC/DC and getting into fights in the smoking area, I was talking about chord and key changes in Harry Connick, Jr. songs. I never got stuffed in lockers, but probably only ‘cos I was also on the basketball team. Probably? Sure.

I recently bought this 2CD RM set that came with 3 Mingus records, brand new, for $6. Because why would you not? And here are my thoughts on these records…


Ah Um.

What more needs to be said? This is up there with Kind Of Blue, Take Five, A Love Supreme, Monk’s Dream (and others) as classic must-have jazz records. It was 1959, and this record just had to exist. It’s got tributes to Lester Young, Duke Ellington, Jelly Roll Morton, Charlie Parker, Sonny Rollins, and a song for John Cassavetes on it too. The music is so genuinely good, the playing phenomenal… To call this thing a classic is probably Understatement Of The Year. Oh well, there goes 2015 and it’s only May…

How many times have I played this album? Good question, but a general answer would be tons. I had it on cassette for years. I used to have a cassette walkman I loved because it had a rewind button and a 3-band graphic equalizer, and I played all my jazz on the go like that, on the band or basketball bus (headed to other schools in the area), or at home, alone in my room. I jammed to Louis, Harry, Duke, Miles, Coltrane, Bird, Mingus… them and many more (don’t get me started on the blues). That I’m just getting this on CD (for the second time) now speaks to my need to always have this record near. Any gap without it is not acceptable.

It’s still as restlessly brilliant and as achingly beautiful as it always was.

And that’s just CD1 of this 2CD, 3-album set!

mingus ah um

12 thoughts on “Charles Mingus – Mingus Ah Um

  1. J. says:

    Happy 10 years! … and man, that’s an ace Mingus set by the looks of it – pretty sure I spotted that a couple o weeks ago.


    1. keepsmealive says:

      Hey thanks, J.! We grew up in Ontario (near enough to this town, only about 1.5 hours south) and so it may be a little silly to say it’s weird to be back in ON, but after time in Quebec and Saskatchewan too, it was nice to come home. But 10 years here? I dunno, maybe the weird is that I figured we’d have moved another time or three instead! Instead, we recognized a good thing, started our family since we’re close enough to family for them to be in their lives, and have been here ever since! I miss Montreal. I love that town. And I miss the people in SK (JAMES!) but my lovely wife does NOT miss their winters haha.

      This Mingus set is beautiful. It’s a great, cheap way to pick up three of his records.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. keepsmealive says:

      It is awesome! It’s 2CD 3 albums $6… I call that great math!

      And thanks, it’s weird having been back in Ontario for 10 years. Most days it doesn’t feel like it’s been that long, and then we think of everything we’ve done in that time and it can feel like a helluva lot longer!


    2. keepsmealive says:

      And I suppose it should have been the anniversary last month, because we came to ON a bit earlier and crashed at my parents’ place (for a month) while we waited for our house deal to go through. Why so early? My lovely wife’s new job starting before we got the house. Anyway, we count the actual May 24 weekend because that’s when we got the house and officially moved in and got an actual start.

      Liked by 1 person

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