Charles Mingus - Mingus Moves - Blu-Ray Audio Disc

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2023

The stars aligned when Charles Mingus recorded Mingus Moves as his return to Atlantic Records in 1973 after a decade with other labels. The great composer and bassist brought with him a new band that included pianist Don Pullen and tenor saxophonist/flutist George Adams (laying the foundation for their stellar quartet in the 1980s). It also marked the return of longtime drummer Dannie Richmond to his group after several years away -- the kit man rejoined Mingus the day before these sessions occurred. Rounding out the quintet was trumpeter and teacher Ronald Hampton, who was playing with Sam Rivers at the same time. Mingus Moves stands with Changes One and Changes Two as the very best of his late work.

Opener "Canon" is a Latin-tinged modal ballad with a circular melody that hovers between Adams and Hampton amid moody piano, contrasting cumbia and West African rhythms. "Opus 4" is finger-popping hard bop with a fantastically knotty head shared by the horns. Pullen's bright chords and legato fills add flair to Adams' muscular tenor solo. Hammond appears as a vocalist duetting with Honi Gordon on his "Moves," a deeply spiritual cut the band articulates like a sacred hymn. Johnson's "Wee" is a hard-swinging post-bop showcase for the amazing and intuitive dialogue between Adams and Pullen. The tenorist goes deep and wide, following the pianist's ever-expanding harmonic ideas as Mingus and Richmond drive them on.

The saxist's "Flowers for a Lady" is a breezy, midtempo groover whose rhythms are centered between Afro-Latin Caribbean and Brazilian sounds with a lovely solo from Hampton. Pullen's "Newcomer" is a conduit for his most intimate tonal inquiries. Adams places first his flute, then his tenor in service to its open, airy, Ellingtonian melody as Hampton joins him in the front line. The set closer is Mingus' ten-minute "Opus 3," a tough post-bop jam with Hampton holding down the head as Adams pushes every chorus to the breaking point before the rhythm section drives it toward a stomping gospel blues à la "Better Git It in Yo' Soul." Pullen flips it, returning to forceful hard bop in his solo. Mingus and Richmond usher the changes while buoying the soloists. There isn't a weak moment on Mingus Moves. It is not only a solid entry in the bassist's catalog, but it's an undercelebrated yet necessary encounter with the  the artist at his late best.

Thom Jurek

(081227818968)

SKU 081227818968
Barcode # 081227818968
Brand Atlantic Records / Rhino

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