Mingus, Charles - The Complete 1962 Town Hall Concert (expanded) (Mega Blowout Sale)

SKU 23-GSGZ 180 CD
One of the legendary fiascos of modern music, which deserves a second look and reconsideration.
The concert was originally conceived as a "live workshop" of newly composed music which would be recorded for release by United Artists (this was also a way to save money) but rescheduling, lack of rehearsal time, poor sound and interruptions led to the event and subsequent album, which featured only about half the material recorded, being considered a disaster, it features the leader performing compositions he would only rarely record on other occasions, if ever. Much of the music written for the concert was realized over 25 years later by conductor Gunther Schuller as ‘Epitaph’.
The band is a who’s who of jazz greats, including Clark Terry, Eric Dolphy, Charles McPherson, Charlie Mariano, Zoot Sims, Britt Woodman, Jimmy Cleveland, Pepper Adams, Les Spann, Buddy Collette, Charles McPherson, Grady Tate, Willie Dennis, Dannie Richmond, Jaki Byard and Toshiko Akiyoshi, among others. Jimmy Knepper, who was part of Mingus’ band at the time, wasn’t present because he had an argument with the leader during the rehearsals (Mingus punched him in the face and broke his embouchure).
This album presents the entire concert in all its over-reaching glory. I basically agree completely with the review below which says it better than I can. Conditionally recommended if you want to hear the messy side of how genius works under financial and time pressure!

“If an album is an organic whole in which the entirety is greater than the parts then this album is a mess! If, however, it is a collection of tracks which we can pick and choose as we want, then this album contains extraordinary music.
The history of the concert is well documented: an attempt to record an album live but to studio quality; a band with 31 musicians and 3 arrangers; but then the concert was moved forward and rehearsal time slashed; a confused audience who were baffled by the false starts, etc. Finally the recording seemed to fail both in live atmosphere and quality of sound. One track - Osmotin' - comes to an abrupt halt, another - Please Don't Come Back From the Moon - stops in mid flow, curtailing Charlie Mariano's solo. The sound seems flat, two dimensional, the depth that a band of this size should have produced seems squashed into a cartoon of a band.
But there is wonderful music. If a major excitement of big band jazz comes from the tension between the whole, the arrangement, and the individual musician, the clash of these two forming something greater than either, then in this album the flatness of sound constantly threatens to squash the performers, but the brilliance of the arrangements and the many outstanding performers - listen to Eric Dolphy on Epitaph, Part One - constantly saves it. While the music constantly threatens to tear itself apart into a chaos of sound, this is finally an added richness, a tension between the written charts and the anarchy of the individualistic performance.”-rateyourmusic
  • LabelGrey Scale
  • UPC5056083202867
Your Price $8.00

Customer Reviews