There have been many attempts to revisit the music of Charles Mingus ever since his death in 1979 (with several of the groups being called Mingus Dynasty), but this is by far the most successful of all the Mingus tribute albums. The 20-piece Mingus Big Band is an all-star unit comprised of mostly younger musicians who have spent several years really studying and getting inside the great bassist’s music. The band’s debut CD has such spirited soloists as baritonist Ronnie Cuber (who introduces “Nostalgia in Times Square” with a memorable story of his first encounter with Mingus), trumpeters Randy Brecker, Ryan Kisor, and Jack Walrath, trombonists Art Baron, Frank Lacy, and Dave Taylor, altoist Steve Slagle, tenors Chris Potter, Craig Handy, and John Stubblefield, and pianist Kenny Drew, Jr., among others. The ten Mingus compositions are all given memorable treatments, particularly “Moanin’,” the witty and somewhat nutty “Don’t Be Afraid, the Clown’s Afraid Too,” and “Weird Nightmare.” The new arrangements by Sy Johnson, Jack Walrath, and Ronnie Cuber are quite crowded and very much in the spirit of Mingus. This was one of the top recordings to be released in 1994 and is essential for all serious jazz collections. – Scott Yanowmore »
Nostagia In Times Square
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