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Jose Reyes

Charles Mingus’ “Pre-Bird” and its “Uniqueness”



Mingus again? Yes, the Jazz Con Class Radio listeners must be saying. I know, I have featured and written many posts on Mingus because of the improvising approach to every song he records. Not to mention, their uniqueness and this album proves it over and over, what a gem! Mingus was greatest for me, as I have mentioned before and perfectly expresses the “Meaning of Jazz.” His music explains Jazz through its complexities and separates it from any other style because of its freedom. He never forgets the roots of Jazz and at the same time, creates a future path for it so it can live forever. Jazz is limitless because of Mingus, it will never die!

Never a dull moment with “Charlie” as his first name is written on the cover of this 1960 release named “Pre-Bird.” The description below describes the reason why Charles Mingus chose this particular title for the album. It is important to note, this same album was reissued later on with a different title, “Mingus Revisited.” I will place all the songs from this album in the G4 Playlist because its a special unique collaboration of Jazz musicians and Pre-Bird acheives this in a big manner with 25 musicians in total. Mingus splits them up in different combinations resulting in different ensembles, depending on the song. As the listeners will read below, these songs were all either composed and/or rearranged by Mingus before the Bebop era.

About the album:

Digitally remastered using 24-bit technology by Kevin Reeves (Polygram Studios). Charles Mingus was and remains one of American music’s most colorful figures. A volatile personality, dynamic bandleader, influential composer–Mingus was all these and more. Drawing upon the blues and gospel roots of jazz, Duke Ellington and early 20th century classical music, Mingus’ compositions are among the most distinctive and passionate in jazz. PRE-BIRD, recorded in 1960, is a set of music that Mingus composed in the 1940s, before the ascendance of Charlie “Bird” Parker to the jazz pantheon. This collection includes a couple of Ellington covers, and music that sounds like the Duke’s influence filtered through Igor Stravinsky and Charles Ives (“Half-Mast Inhibition,” “Eclipse”). The tunes surge with emotion and power that will be felt long after the disc ends. Mingus assembled a big band (conducted by Gunther Schuler) to give….Read More


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