Jazz Icons: Charles Mingus showcases three exceptional concerts performed in April 1964 featuring his most celebrated lineup—Jaki Byard (piano), Dannie Richmond (drums), Johnny Coles (trumpet), Clifford Jordan (tenor sax) and the great Eric Dolphy (alto sax, flute and bass clarinet). Recorded within an eight-day span, less than three months before Dolphy’s death, the three concerts showcase Mingus’s visionary leadership and the band’s incredible depth and diversity with unique performances and arrangements of classics including “So Long Eric” and the groundbreaking “Meditations On Integration”.
Live in Norway 1964 Personnel:
Live in Sweden 1964 Personnel:
Foreword: Perhaps even more than Ellington, Mingus embraced all of life—and death. And this video captures many—but not all—of those emotional states and nuances which defy anthologising. From the certifiable masterpiece, “Meditations On Integration”, to the 12-bar theme of “So Long Eric”, Mingus demands of himself and his musicians the highest artistic attainment.
Because this DVD presents several versions of Mingus’s 1964 concert repertoire, we not only hear, but see how Mingus works with his musicians—presenting them with unexpected challenges and, in return, dealing with the unexpected challenge of having to continue his series of concerts without his trumpeter, Johnny Coles, who was rushed to the hospital in Paris in mid-performance. The concerts continued—including performances of “Meditations On Integration”—with pianist Jacki Byard valiantly playing the trumpet parts on the piano. With Mingus, everything is part of the music—be it dealing with his bass sliding across the floor or rehearsing in public.
So perhaps an overview of Mingus’s greatness can be served by this DVD—if not an anthology, then certainly a compelling document that captures a portion of his art.