Charles Mingus Sextet With Eric Dolphy – Cornell 1964

Charles Mingus Sextet With Eric Dolphy – Cornell 1964 / 2007 Blue Note / 9 Tracks / /

I am not the most well versed individual when it comes to blues and jazz music. As one can glean from the artists present in the title of this disc (Charles Mingus and Eric Dolphy), this is a jazz album. The fifties and sixties were an interesting time for jazz music, as it saw the creation of new styles that challenged the norms, while the older styles still had a number of adherents. The work done by the Charles Mingus Sextet/Dolphy is more along the classical jazz side of things. “Sophisticated Lady” shows a breakdown of some of these earlier styles, as the bass that stands as a focal point to the disc bounces all across the spectrum. Without anything more in terms of structure to constrain this instrument, what results during “Sophisticated Lady” is something that is fairly open-ended. Despite the fact that this was recorded live, the confident arrangements that are present during the aforementioned “Sophisticated Lady” sound almost as clear as if individuals were sitting in the stage that day.

There may be a little bit of fuzz at the periphery of the track, but the arrangements are as brilliant as ever. The performance stretches well over two hours, and while most acts would seem tired or otherwise played out if they were given that much time, the Charles Mingus Sextet during this 1964 Cornell performance blend together classical with current jazz, funk, soul, and even blues to make for a very eclectic and full jazz sound. While there is more in the way of structure present during ”Orange Was the Colour of Her Dress, Then Blue Silk” than there was during prior tracks on “Cornell 1964”, there is still a spontaneous sound to this act that breaks free of any prisons created by musical structure.

The inclusion of a more intense set of horns to “Orange Was the Colour” also further distinguishes it from the rest of the tracks on this set. While there are other moments that may reach the same level of outward intensity, one really needs to look at the context with which the horns came from. During “Colour”, the rest of the band is very slow until that moment when the horn starts up. During other songs, such as “Take The “A” Train”, there are faster moments but they come forth in a much more natural way. Despite being well over 40 years old, the style of jazz here is as impressive as ever. Charles Mingus, eir sextet, and Eric Dolphy deserve the mantles that they have been given.

Top Tracks: Orange Was The Colour of Her Dress, Then Blue Silk, Meditations

Rating: 6.7/10

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Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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