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Tijuana Moods

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Tijuana Moods album cover
01
Dizzy Moods
5:50  
02
Ysabel's Table Dance
10:27  
03
Tijuana Gift Shop
3:47  
04
Los Mariachis (The Street Musicians)
10:22  
05
Flamingo
5:36  
06
Dizzy Moods (Alternate Take)
8:21  
07
Ysabel's Table Dance (Alternate Take)
13:00  
08
Tijuana Gift Shop (Alternate Take)
4:42  
09
Los Mariachis (The Street Musicians - Alternate Take)
12:27  
10
Flamingo (Alternate Take)
6:41  
Album Information

Total Tracks: 10   Total Length: 81:13

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They Say All Music Guide

Inspired by a trip to Tijuana, Tijuana Moods was recorded in 1957 but was sat on by RCA until its release in 1962. Bassist/composer Charles Mingus at the time said that this was his greatest recording, and it certainly ranks near the top. The original version (which was usually edited together from a few different takes) consisted of just five performances. In the ’80s, it doubled in size with the release of two versions of each of the songs, and in 2001, it reappeared as a double CD with 22 performances. It has often been said that Mingus forced and pressured his sidemen to play above their potential, and that is certainly true of this project. Altoist Shafi Hadi (who doubles on tenor) is in blazing form on “Ysabel’s Table Dance,” while trumpeter Clarence Shaw (who was praised by Mingus for his short lyrical solo on “Flamingo”) sounds quite haunting on “Los Mariachis.” Trombonist Jimmy Knepper and drummer Dannie Richmond made other great recordings, but they are in particularly superior form throughout this session, as is the obscure pianist Bill Triglia. Completing the band is Ysabel Morel on vocals and Frankie Dunlop on castanets. While “Dizzy’s Moods” is based on “Woody’N You,” and “Flamingo” is given a fresh treatment, the other three songs are quite original, with “Tijuana Gift Shop” having a catchy, dissonant riff that sticks in one’s mind. The passionate playing, exciting ensembles, and high-quality compositions make this a real gem. In addition, this double-CD includes the recently discovered “A Colloquial Dream,” an early version of a spoken word piece later called “Scenes in the City,” with Lonnie Elder doing the talking rather than Melvin Stewart (though Stewart’s later version was superior). Due to the repetition of titles (with eight of the final nine cuts being excerpts), more casual listeners may want to search instead for the single CD New Tijuana Moods, which was released in 1996 and just augments the original five songs with four alternate takes. But in any case, this stirring music belongs in every jazz collection, for it does represent one of Charles Mingus’ finest hours. – Scott Yanow

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