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!!!
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…
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!