Entertainment Weekly - p.71
"This essential two-discer finds Mingus in a magnanimous mood -- just listen to the bassist's joking asides." -- Grade: A
Uncut - p.1035 stars out of 5
-- "[The songs] travel through tango, vaudeville, romantic orchestral and proto-punk freakouts to thrilling effect."
The Wire - p.57
"[W]hat made him great was the devoted way he served the music, and this is great music indeed."
Down Beat - p.804.5 stars out of 5
-- "It is essential Mingus, capturing a relaxed maestro at the height of his imaginative powers."
JazzTimes - p.79
"'Meditations' commences the second disc and proves to be the climactic centerpiece of the whole performance. It's a tour de force..."
Charles Mingus: Charles Mingus (bass guitar); Clifford Jordan, Dannie Richmond, Jaki Byard, Johnny Coles.
Personnel: Eric Dolphy (flute, bass clarinet, alto saxophone); Clifford Jordan (tenor saxophone); Johnny Coles (trumpet); Jaki Byard (piano); Dannie Richmond (drums).
Additional personnel: Eric Dolphy.
Liner Note Author: Gary Giddins.
Recording information: Cornell University, Ithaca, NY (03/18/1964).
Author: Sue Mingus.
Photographer: Riccardo Schwamenthal.
Charles Mingus led some outstanding ensembles, but one of the most formidable was the group he assembled in the early 1960s for a tour of Europe. CORNELL 1964 features that group in action on two discs of previously unreleased material. With Dannie Richmond on drums, Jaki Bayard on piano, Clifford Jordan on tenor sax, Johnny Coles on trumpet, and the great Eric Dolphy on bass clarinet, flute, and saxophone, Mingus's sextet--especially on the evidence of the performances here--ranks as one of the best of the post-bop era.
Mingus's bold, complex compositions are brought to full flower by the interplay of the musicians, and what dazzles throughout is their equal command of elegant melodic passages and wild, forward-leaning improvisation. The standards here--"Take the A Train;" "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling"--receive a similar treatment. The performances are stellar across the board, but Dolphy stands out in particular, wheeling through solos with imaginative dexterity and wit. This set is a must for Mingus fans, but merits a listen from jazz fans of any stripe.