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Music Consumption: Charles Mingus
02/24/2001 Charles Mingus: Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus

Years ago, I saw the documentary done during the 60s--the one that intercuts fantastic performance footage with the disturbing, emotionally wrenching night before he got evicted from his loft. While one suspects he could have spent that night finding a place for his stuff, he spent it pontificating, drinking wine, playing with his daughter, and shooting a rifle into the ceiling. So Mingus didn't seem fully equipped to deal with the practicalities of existing, but what a bassist and composer. The performances are exuberant and electrifying, and some of that shows up on this disc. I defy anyone to get "II B.S." out of their heads once they hear it. As a friend puts it, there's a very Beat-era feel to this stuff (or so it seems at this remove, although it was recorded in 1963 or so.) The Lester Young theme (aka "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat") is evocative and moving, and the uptempo stuff swings hard like a prizefighter. A true classic.