Personnel: Charles Mingus (bass); George Barrow (tenor saxophone); Eddie Bert (trombone); Mal Waldron (piano); Willie Jones, Max Roach (drums).
Recorded live at the Cafe Bohemia, New York, New York on December 23, 1955. Originally released on Fantasy (6009). Includes liner notes by Ralph J. Gleason.
Digitally remastered by Phil De Lancie (1990, Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California).
Personnel: George Barrow (tenor saxophone); Eddie Bert (trombone); Mal Waldron (piano); Max Roach, Willie Jones (drums).
Audio Remasterer: Phil DeLancie.
Liner Note Author: Ralph J. Gleason.
Recording information: Cafe Bohemia, New York, NY (12/23/1955).
Unknown Contributor Roles: Eddie Bert; Mal Waldron; Willie Jones ; George Barrow.
The mid-'50s was a transitional period for Mingus' music. Still working within fairly conventional song structures, he began to experiment with various harmonic and rhythmic augmentations of the pieces in his repertoire, like a sculptor changing the shapes of familiar objects until, while still identifiable, they begin to take on a new identity. Here he directs his quintet through evocative, atmospheric embellishments (trombonist Eddie Bert's sustained notes sound like a fog horn on "A Foggy Day"), shifts in tone and dynamic (the jarring changes in "Lady Bird") and the pulsing, contrapuntal lines of "Love Chant," while maintaining strong links to traditional form and melody.
Master skinsman Max Roach appears on two tracks here, "I'll Remember April," and the floating dialogue between drums and bass in "Drums." The members of the Quintet play solidly throughout (though Roach's spot in "I'll Remember April" steals the show). The music (recorded live at a club date in New York City, 1955) is skilful, intriguing and accessible: a cross-section of Mingus' earliest concentrations and the exploratory direction he would take in the late '50s/ early '60s.