Friday, April 16, 2010
Charles MINGUS - Live in Chateauvallon 1972
August 22, 1972, Chateauvallon, France
1989 Issue. FCD 134
Recently, every discovery of a Mingus date "At UCLA," "At Cornell," "The Great Charles Mingus Concert" has produced sales, critical acclaim, wide-spread popular acceptance, in spite of often ragged musical performance (even by Mingus standards) and inferior, distant and distorted audio fidelity. This recording, on the other hand, is admittedly very "leisurely" Mingus, but it reveals his love of melody, of Ellington, and of the authentic tradition of African-American and American popular song art. It's basically an altoist (the commanding, lush-toned, Bird-influenced Charles McPherson) plus rhythm section, but there's never the least doubt about who the leader on the session is.
Pianist John Foster was an obscure, little-recorded musician who deserved far better. Thankfully, he can be heard here, one of his very few recorded appearances. Roy Brooks is, quite simply, one of the outstanding drummers, whether judged as a time-keeper and swinger, a technician (both his brushwork and stick-work were immaculate), or creative spirit (I've never seen any other drummer literally "blow" drums that's right, with Mingus he would attach hollow tubes to the toms and blow into them to raise and lower the pitch). He was the drummer in Horace Silver's most successful quintet with Blue Mitchell and Junior Cook, but those relatively formulaic, restrictive recordings don't do him justice. To see him live with Mingus or the Heath brothers was to appreciate his immense talent. His life came to a sad and pathetic end not long ago, causing many to overlook his immense contributions prior to his final year.
1972 was, I'm quite sure, the year I caught this group at the Brown Shoe in Chicago, supplemented by the trumpet of Jon Faddis and woodwinds of the ill-fated Bobby Jones. That's the group I wish had been more frequently recorded, but in its absence I'll gladly settle for "Live at Chateauvallon."
By Samuel Chell.
Charles McPherson- Alto Sax
John Foster- Piano, Vocal
Charles Mingus- Bass
Roy Brooks- Drums, Musical Saw
1. Duke Ellington Medley (2646)
a-Blues in G (bass solo)
b-In A Sentimental Mood (Duke Ellington)
c-Sophisticated Lady (Ellington)
d-Mood Indigo (Ellington, Barney Bigard)
e-Take The A Train (Billy Strayhorn)
2. Fables Of Faubus (1910)
3. Diane [Body And Soul] (656)
4. Blues Medley [Blues for Some Bones] (1532)
a-John's Blues (1021)
b-Blues for Roy's Saw (202)
c-Noddin' Ya Head Blues (251)