Monday, Aug. 20, 2012
The Complete Columbia & RCA Albums Collection (Legacy)
Charles Mingus was one of Duke Ellington's greatest heirs in exploring the symphonic potential of jazz without losing touch with its funky roots. This newly issued 10-CD set is comprised of everything he recorded for Columbia and RCA—which still leaves out a lot from the prolific composer and bassist's catalog. The jacket notes by the late musician's wife, Sue Mingus, are opinionated and direct. Her husband would not have approved of the alternate takes appearing here for the obvious reason that they weren't the way he wanted his music heard. On the other hand, Mingus might have been pleased to hear the recording of “Epitaph,” his sprawling unfinished composition collated and performed under the direction of jazz scholar Gunther Schuller.