Apr 17, 2016

Charles Mingus' Let My Children Hear Music: Free Wheeling Powerful 70's Big Band Jazz

Here is a tasty big band recording from Charles Mingus:

Let My Children Hear Music is an obscure recording in a sense, you don't hear it mentioned in many of the Mingus best of lists. Truth is, that list is so long, 5 or 10 records usually only scrape the surface anyway.

Most people are familiar with, what many believe to be Mingus's Magnum Opus The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady.

 A study in Ellingtonia, Mingus's biggest influence compositionally, and one of best jazz releases of the 60's for sure.

 Let my Children Hear Music is from 1971,  the Ellington sound is not nearly as pronounced to my ears, I happen to think the track "Hobo Ho" is one of the best pieces Mingus ever did, and easily in my top 10 of Mingus compositions. His Bass playing is spectacular on the entire recording, and really drives the music to powerful heights.

Why this recording isn't as well known as other Mingus masterpieces is a mystery to me, orchestrated chaos might be a good way to described the music, at times the power of the band threatens to come apart at the seams, as with many of Mingus's best works.

 The music is like a runaway freight train that some how manages to make it back to the station."The Shoes of The Fisherman's Wife Are Some Jive-ass Slippers", is a fantastic Swinging number, "The Eye of Hurricane Sue" does indeed Swirl like a hurricane.

From what I understand, Columbia Producer Teo Macero, who was smack in the middle of his Cut and Paste phase with the electric music of Miles Davis, does a whole lot of cut and paste on these sessions.

Call and Response is always incorporated in the Mingus Style, I personally love this earthiness in Mingus, a primitive, or raw sound always permeates his music.

 Mingus always seemed to have a Blues shouter Saxophonist as well, whether it was Clifford Jordan, Jackie McLean, Booker Ervin or James Moody on this recording, I always thought they were central to the Mingus sound, and fit the Mingus style perfectly.

It had been a few years since I listened to Let My Children Hear Music, and I really was blown away by it again, I will never understand why it isn't considered one of the Masterpieces of big band modern jazz.

 "Adogio Ma Non Troppo" is a special treat you must hear, an exotic third stream piece, that has a somber mood and Spanish tinge.

Vinyl copies of Let My Children Hear Music are fairly easy to come by, and the CD is dirt cheap on the secondary market. If you like Mingus, or enjoy Modern big band, you must get this album.

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