Mingus at Carnegie Hall documents one of the most extraordinary live jazz concerts. Atlantic Records released a one-disc LP of the same title in 1975, a few months after the heady event, but it included only the second half of the show—late-career Charles Mingus’s young quintet jamming for 45 minutes with three older guest stars on Ellington standards “C Jam Blues” and “Perdido” (the latter written by Juan Tizol). Left on the cutting-room floor was the entire first half—just the quintet, stretching for 75 minutes on Mingus classics (“Peggy’s Blue Skylight,” “Celia,” and “Fables of Faubus”), and a bluesy original by pianist Don Pullen (“Big Alice”). This new “Deluxe Edition” (3 LPs on Run Out Groove; also on Rhino as a 2-CD set) presents the whole concert for the first time. The new set expands our knowledge not only of the event but of the era. It’s also tremendously gripping and fun.
Mingus was a Janus-like figure in modern jazz, one face looking forward, one face looking back. He was among the most innovative bassists, composers, and bandleaders of his time, but he revered the masters of the traditions, and he ceaselessly struggled to carve out new paths within the old structures.
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