Charles Mingus

@BREMEN 1964 & 1975



In 1964 the fieriest band Charles Mingus ever assembled lobbed in Germany for the first time – and promptly started playing 45 minutes late. The concert (most of which is present on this four-album set) swiftly made up for that, however, being crammed with all the humour, swagger, invention and vigour of which this sextet was capable. The other two albums cover a return Bremen visit in 1975. Along with Mingus and drummer Dannie Richmond, the ’64 band had Clifford Jordan (tenor) Johnny Coles (trumpet), Jacki Byard piano and Mingus’s secret weapon, Eric Dolphy (alto, flute, bass clarinet), who died just two months later.

The world can never have too much Dolphy, and here’s a massive new dose of his limitless imagination, his daring and his turbocharging effect on Mingus. A 33-minute Fables of Faubus offers an especially vivid snapshot of Mingus reinventing his own material and creating fresh backdrops for his brilliant soloists. Retaining the indefatigable Richmond, the 1975 band had trumpeter Jack Walrath, saxophonist George Adams and pianist Don Pullen. They, too, were capable of rearranging Bremen’s air molecules for a night – and the audience members’ hearts for slightly longer.