January 12, 2013

Playlist Week of 2013-01-12

Charles Mingus - Music Written For Monterey 1965

* Tallis: The Tallis Scholars Sing Thomas Tallis (d.1) (Gimmel 2CD)
* Buxtehude: Seven Sonatas, Op.1 (Holloway/ter Linden/Mortensen) (Naxos CD)
* Biber: Violin Sonatas (Romanesca) (Harmonia Mundi 2CD)
* Vivaldi: Concertos For Two Violins (Venice Baroque Orchestra/Carmignola/Mullova) (Archiv Prod. CD)
* Satie: L’Oeuvre pour piano (Ciccolini) (d.3-5) (EMI Classics 5CD)
* Charlie Parker: The Complete Savoy & Dial Recordings (d.1) (Savoy/Atlantic 8CD)
* Sun Ra: Cosmo Earth Fantasy: The Sub-Underground Series Vols.1-2 (Saturn/Art Yard CD)
* Charles Mingus: Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus (Impulse! CD)
* Charles Mingus: Music Written for Monterey 1965, Not Heard… (Sue Mingus/Sunnyside 2CD)
* Muhal Richard Abrams Orchestra: Rejoicing With The Light (Black Saint CD)
* Muhal Richard Abrams Octet: View From Within (Black Saint CD)
* Julius Hemphill: Dogon A.D. (Arista/International Phonograph CD)
* Matthew Shipp & Martin Bisio: Floating Ice (Relative Pitch CD)
* Joe Morris/Agustí Fernández/Nate Wooley: From The Discrete To The Particular (Relative Pitch CD)
* Joëlle Léandre & Jérôme Bourdellon: Evidence (Relative Pitch CD)
* Parliament: Mothership Connection (Casablanca CD)
* Parliament: Funkytelechy vs. The Placebo Syndrome (Casablanca CD)
* D’Angelo: Voodoo (Virgin CD)
* Sly & The Family Stone: Stand! (Epic/Sundazed LP)
* Sly & The Family Stone: There’s A Riot Goin’ On (Epic/Sundazed LP)
* Grateful Dead: Winterland Arena, San Francisco, CA 11/9/73 (GDP/Rhino 3HDCD)
* Grateful Dead: The Omni, Atlanta, GA 4/2/90 (GDP/Rhino 3HDCD)
* Jeff Beck: Jeff Beck’s Guitar Shop (Epic/Friday Music LP)
* David Byrne & Brian Eno: My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts (Sire LP)
* David Byrne: Music From “The Catherine Wheel” (Sire CD)
* Guided By Voices: The Bears For Lunch (GBV, Inc. LP)
* The Future Sound Of London: The Isness (Virgin CD)†
* Opeth: Blackwater Park (Music For Nations/Sony CD/DVD)
* Opeth: Lamentations: Live At Shepherd’s Bush Empire 2003 (Music For Nations/KOCH DVD)
* Opeth: The Roundhouse Tapes (Peaceville 2CD)†
* Opeth: Watershed (Roadrunner CD)†
* Opeth: In Live Concert At The Royal Albert Hall (Roadrunner 3CD/DVD)†
* Opeth: Heritage (Roadrunner CD/DVD)†
* Katatonia: Dead End Kings (Peaceville CD)†
* Anathema: A Natural Disaster (Music For Nations/Sony CD)†
* Anathema: Falling Deeper (KScope CD)†
* Anathema: We’re Here Because We’re Here (KScope CD)†
* Anathema: Weather Systems (The End CD)†
* Neurosis: Honor Found In Decay (Neurot MP3)†
* Baroness: Yellow & Green (Relapse 2LP)
* Alcest: Écailles de Lune (Prophecy Productions CD)†
* Alcest: Les Voyages de L’Âme (Prophecy Productions CD)†
* Earth: Angels Of Darkness, Demons Of Light I (Southern Lord 2LP)
* Earth: Angels Of Darkness, Demons Of Light II (Southern Lord 2-45RPM LP)
* Grails: Burning Off Impurities (Temporary Residence 2LP)
* Grails: Deep Politics (Temporary Residence 2LP)
* Yakuza: Beyul (Profound Lore CD)
* Jack White: Blunderbuss (Third Man LP)
* The Sword: Apocyphon (Razor & Tie CD)†
* Ex-Cops: True Hallucinations (Fat Possum MP3)†



Following up on last week’s playlist, I picked up the missing  piece of the Charles Mingus puzzle, Music Written for Monterey 1965 – Not Heard…Played in its Entirety at UCLA. Conceptually, this belongs with the other stuff on that Mosaic set, but I can kind of understand why it was not included. Originally issued in 1966 as a two-LP set on Mingus’s own label, only 200 copies were pressed and was "officially" unavailable ever since. It was finally reissued on CD by Sue Mingus and Sunnyside Records in 2006 and is still in print, so I could see why Mosaic did not include it in their otherwise complete box set (either that or Ms. Mingus simply refused to license it). Unfortunately, when Charles Mingus attempted to reissue the LP in 1976, he was shocked to discover the original master tapes were destroyed by Capitol Records, where they had been placed in storage. He was told by a representative that Capitol had advertised the “disposal of obsolete custom tapes” in the trade papers, to which Mingus sardonically responded, “Who reads the trades?” (see liner notes). Accordingly, the Sunnyside CDs are taken from clean original pressings and digitally restored as faithfully as possible.

Recorded on September 25, 1965, a week after the truncated appearance at Monterey, it contains three more pieces composed for the occasion. But unlike the more straightforward performance heard at Monterey, the UCLA gig was a lot looser, more like an open rehearsal than a concert, Mingus hectoring the band in the true spirit of a “Jazz Workshop.” There are a couple of false starts as the octet tries to play complicated opening bars of “Once Upon a Time, There Was a Holding Corporation Called Old America” (a/k/a “The Shoes of the Fisherman’s Wife Are Some Jive-Ass Slippers”). After the second breakdown, Mingus dismisses Hobart Dotson, Jimmy Owens, Julius Watkins and Howard Johnson for “mental tardiness,” telling them to go “to the back room and figure this thing out.” Then Mingus, Dannie Richmond, Lonnie Hillyer and Charles McPherson rip into a scorching version of “Ode to Bird and Dizzy.” Ouch! The chastened musicians then return to the stage for rest of the set, eventually executing a complete take of “Once There Was A Holding Corporation…” After that tentative beginning, the band really starts to gel and Mingus’s joy is audible as he shouts encouragement to his soloists and prods drummer Dannie Richmond to take it up a notch. The set ends with a moving rendition of “Don’t Let It Happen Here,” with Mingus reciting an adaptation of Pastor Martin Niemoller’s famous anti-fascist poem, "First They Came..."

As with the other recordings Mingus made for his low-budget, mail-order label in the 1960s, the sound quality is less than ideal to begin with, beyond the loss of the original master tapes. Given the changeable nature of the music, the technicians on the UCLA engineering staff struggle with balance and levels and there is significant distortion to be heard in spots as well as the thumps and booms of microphones being moved around on stage. Nevertheless, it mostly sounds pretty good and as a raw, un-redacted document of Mingus’s voluble and tempestuous personality it is unparalleled. As Sue Mingus points out in her liner notes, “This is an inside view of a particular period in Mingus’s creative life and a concert whose difficulties and rewards are like none other.”  Indeed, this is a crucial piece of the Mingus discography, despite its obvious flaws. It would have been nice to have this included on the pricey Mosaic set but the Sunnyside edition is very nicely done with extensive liner notes and is still readily available—I had to have it, warts and all!

1 comment:

Sam said...

Glad you picked that up..for its extended form pieces, it's a crucial link between some of the 1959-1960 material and "Let My Children Hear Music."

Here are my lists from last week:

Playlist 2013-01-14:

*Xenakis: Architect in Sound 1985 radio disc 3 (CDR)
*Anthony Braxton/Roscoe Mitchell Creative Orchestra: 1984-06-30 Austria (CDR)
*Duke Ellington: Piano in the Background
*Andrew Hill: Mosaic Select (disc 3)
*Billie Holiday: Lady Day: The Complete Billie Holiday on Columbia 1933–1944 (disc 4)
*Ingrid Laubrock: 2009-08-01 The Stone, NYC (CDR)
*Charles Mingus: 1972-08-14/15 Ronnie Scott’s, London (CDR) disc 2
*Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane: At Carnegie Hall
*Terje Rypdal: Odyssey: In Studio & In Concert (discs 1, 2)
*Animal Collective: Feels
*Beach Boys: The SMiLE Sessions (disc 1)
*Beatles: Sgt. Pepper (2009 stereo remaster)
*Beatles: Sgt. Pepper (2012 vinyl side 1)
*Elvis Costello & the Attractions: Get Happy (side 1)
*Deerhoof: selections
*Grateful Dead: 1972-09-10 Hollywood (CDR) “Dark Star”
*Grateful Dead: 1972-09-24 Waterbury CT (CDR) "Dark Star"
*Grateful Dead: 1972-10-18 St. Louis (CDR) “Dark Star”
*Grateful Dead: 1972-10-28 Cleveland (CDR)
*King Crimson: The Great Deceiver (disc 1)
*Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks: Mirror Traffic
*Opeth: Damnation
*Opeth: Ghost Reveries
*Panda Bear: Person Pitch
*Prince: The Dawn (boot CDR) disc 3
*Prince: Planet Earth
*Sigur Ros: Med Sud I Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaust
*Various artists: Motown Remixed
*Yes: Time and a Word
*Yes: Beyond & Before: BBC Recordings 1969-1970 (disc 1)

Reading List 2013-01-14:

*Bellamy, Dodie. The Letters of Mina Harker (started)
*Levin, Richard. Looking for an Argument (finished)
*Mantel, Hilary. Bring Up the Bodies (finished)
*Anthology of Really Important Modern Poetry (in progress)
*Barks, Carl. Uncle Scrooge: Only a Poor Old Man (in progress)
*Proust, Marcel. In Search of Lost Time, vol. V: The Captive, transl. Scott-Moncrieff/Kilmartin, rev. Enright (reread/in progress)