Reference: FSRCD 535
Bar code: 8427328605359
Charles Mingus was a major performing jazzman, composer and theorist when he recorded East Coasting in August 1957, and A Modern Jazz Symposium of Music and Poetry in October that same year. Both albums are proof of the great strength he possessed, essential for the kind of pioneer effort he had undertaken in using his compositional prowess to expand the perimeters of jazz in structural terms. Nothing in this music is contrived, clumsy, or intellectual. Instead, it is the product of an enormously gifted talent who, as with all vitally inventive thinkers, drew on the honest experience of mind and soul of his age for artistic sustenance.
The Mingus group here is first rate. In addition to Jimmy Knepper, a vital part of Minguss music, these sessions featured the thoughtful talents of Bill Evans and Horace Parlan, and outstanding sidemen such as Shafi Hadi, Clarence Shaw, or Dannie Richmond. In those days Minguss workshop groups had considerable live experience with jazz-poetry and beyond, and undoubtedly he succeeded in merging his complex musical ideology with the spoken word. Scenes in the City is narrated by Melvin Stewart, while on the last two tracks Langston Hughes reads his own poems. The inspired supporting music helped to make these sides among the most successful of their kind.
"One of Charles Mingus's lesser-known band sessions, this set of five of his originals (plus the standard "Memories of You") features his usual sidemen of the period (trombonist Jimmy Knepper, trumpeter Clarence Shaw, Shafi Hadi on tenor and alto and drummer Dannie Richmond) along with pianist Bill Evans. The music stretches the boundaries of bop, is never predictable and, even if this is not one of Mingus's more acclaimed dates, it is well worth acquiring for the playing is quite stimulating."
-A Modern Jazz Symposium of Music and Poetry
"Despite its title, this CD reissue does not have poetry and is not a "symposium." What it does have is a memorable narration by Lonnie Elder on "Scenes in the City" (one of the best collaborations between the spoken word and jazz), four obscure Charles Mingus compositions for his sextet (which consists of the bassist/leader, trombonist Jimmy Knepper, Shafi Hadi on tenor and alto, either Bill Hardman or Clarence Shaw on trumpet, pianist Horace Parlan, and drummer Dannie Richmond), and three previously unreleased performances including a run-through of Dizzy Gillespie's "Wouldn't You." An excellent set of challenging yet often accessible music."
Both by Scott Yanow -All Music Guide