Friday, June 09, 2006

39. Charles Mingus - The Black Saint And The Sinner Lady (1963)

Track Listing

1. Solo Dancer
2. Duet Solo Dancers
3. Group Dancers
4. Trio And Group Dancers


Very, very interesting one, this one. I really enjoyed it, but I must say that it is most definitely not for everyone. Imagine free-jazz, now imagine it mixed with very slow, almost porn/gangster film like music and a dash of flamenco guitar. Can you? Neither could I. Strangely it all comes together pretty well in the end.

Charles Mingus is brilliant at the piano, particularly at the beggining of track 3, with a beautiful heartfelt solo. Heartfelt is a very important word for this album. In fact this would be the last kind of music that you would associate with beauty and feeling at first listen through, but it grows on you like a demented fungus.

It is quite telling that the liner notes on this album are written by Mingus' therapist. This is a tumultuous record, where rage, love, despair and beauty come out of it in equal measures. I am really not a big fan of this more experimental jazz, but if something can make me review my ideas it is this album. This is not a trio playing, this is a big band, and the work that orchestrating this some times chaotic album must have been is beyond my grasp. The way it changes from beauty to a chaotic sound where you can almost close you eyes and see Mingus falling into a spiral Vertigo style and back is truly amazing. It's like a weird jazzy portait of a mind, and a not very sane one at that.

You can get it on Napster or Amazon UK or US.

Track Highlight

Its four tracks people....

Favourites are tracks 3 and 4.

Final Grade



My mind is melting!

From Wiki

The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady is a 1963 jazz composition and album by bassist Charles Mingus. The piece consists of a single six-part suite performed by an eleven-piece band. An intensly emotional work, it displays Mingus' skill as composer, orchestrator, and technician.

Written as ballet, the work borrows from Ellingtonian and Latin sources, but creates a unique orchestral style that Mingus called "ethnic folk-dance music". The orchestrations (described as "one of the greatest achievements [...] by any composer in jazz history" by the All Music Guide) are rich and multi-layered. Mingus' perfectionism led to extensive use of studio overdubbing techniques, the first for a jazz album.

The album liner notes were provided by Mingus' psychotherapist, Dr. Edmund Pollock.


Anonymous said...

I'm impressed you managed to write this whole review without mentioning that Mingy Mingus is shown honking on his crack pipe on the cover. ;o)

Francisco Silva said...

Yes Mingus was the original Crack Ho