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JAZZ CORNER Presents: Charles Mingus - The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady (1963)

Charles Mingus - The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady (Impulse!, 1963)

I probably shouldn’t be reviewing any Jazz for awhile, as I just laid down some remarks concerning Bitches Brew, and now it seems that everything is overshadowed by Miles Davis for me. Never the less, it feels good to step back seven years, to 1963, and listen to what Charles Mingus was popping, and in Jazz years, that is a very long time.

Only when looking back is it possible to see where the artist was at the time, and Charles certainly had some ideas going on, and for my dollar, he’s expressed them with sophistication and grace. Certainly this album is not like the one’s so many treasure and have become accustomed to, but a Jazz man NEVER stands still, and if they do, then they have nothing to say.  

What hits me most, is his blending of traditional instruments, with those such as the Spanish guitar, and smooth Jazz with experimental sounds, chords and tempos ... and at times every instrument seems to be on its own adventure, seeking out a destination, like a game of marbles, where the shooter marble hits another, and those in turn strike two more, until and endless chain reaction is set in motion. And Mr. Mingus has certainly set a lot in motion with this recording.

One of the greatest pleasures in Jazz, is hearing the piece for the first time. While the album can certainly be exciting each time it’s heard, it is the first listen, following along, becoming one with journey, yet not knowing where things will end up, other than lost in total rapture ... and like any good movie script, Charles takes you down avenues, across parks, and through traffic that twists and turns. Yet, I always seem to end up at some remote curb side cafe with a silly smile on my face, with the waiter asking for my order, and I have no idea how I got there, or where in the city I am.

What a delightful slice of life.

Review made by Jenell Kesler/2015
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