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The Lost Tapes: Charles Mingus Live In Detroit


bluesoul
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I am listening to the cut of Pithacanthropus Erectus on Jazz Wax, and I gotta say that there is something about the Mingus band of this recording and this era that just doesn't appeal to me. Aside from the tenor solo on this, which is weak and repetitious, it just seems to me that Mingus has run out of Steam at this point, and really afterwards, in his career. I heard various permutations of the Mingus group a bunch of times in the 5 year period from maybe '73-78, and it never got to me except at certain moments. Other than Pullen and later Bob Neloms, few if any of the soloists pulled me in like the earlier band had. And even Mingus' writing seemed at times to be parodying himself. I don't know. I hope I change my mind some day, but I just never want to listen through.  Mingus seems to be repeating himself, with a lesser band. Maybe it's the problem of the changes was jazz going through, but it doesn't seem on the cutting edge any more - and maybe it doesn't have to be. But the compositional work/performance dynamic seems neither "contemporary" nor revisionist/retro; I find it all very unsatisfying,

Edited by AllenLowe
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30 minutes ago, JSngry said:

Yes, at least one time. After that, ymmv. But it's nice to hear people talking instead of just reading it.

Ditto. Good listening. 

I emailed the label about the extra track on the download not on the cd set. Their reply seemed (to me) cryptic:

“The full audio from the tapes would not fit on the chosen format hence additional passes.”

They later said “additional passes”means “everything that was on the tapes.”

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5 hours ago, Brad said:

Ditto. Good listening. 

I emailed the label about the extra track on the download not on the cd set. Their reply seemed (to me) cryptic:

“The full audio from the tapes would not fit on the chosen format hence additional passes.”

They later said “additional passes”means “everything that was on the tapes.”

The extra cut is 19+ minutes.  There is less than 19 minutes of content on the fifth CD, so even adding that cut would still make the fifth CD less than 40 minutes.  So "cryptic" is too good a word...

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Hope this doesn’t sound like a dumb question but a few cuts in the set are denominated alternative takes. How do you have alternative takes in a live recording, especially one that has never been previously issued. Aren’t they just songs played during different sets?

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4 minutes ago, Brad said:

Hope this doesn’t sound like a dumb question but a few cuts in the set are denominated alternative takes. How do you have alternative takes in a live recording, especially one that has never been previously issued. Aren’t they just songs played during different sets?

I'm sure that would be what it is.  

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3 hours ago, Brad said:

I received a further response from the label, as follows:

“the decisions relating to the final audio involved numerous people & were taken internally & as we understand it were in part if not all - relating to issues of space.”

 

Again, there is tons of space on those discs.  Three of them have 15-20 minutes of free space, one has 35-40 minutes of free space, one has an hour of free space, is less than 20 minutes long.

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Folks — Earlier in this thread I addressed what appears to be real reason behind the stray digital only track.,The producer told me that Sue Mingus and the estate added this track at the last possible second and insisted it be included. Production at that point was too far along to add it to the CDs. I can't believe it was "discovered" later than the other material, so -- and here I am speculating -- there must have been some communication issue between Sue and the producer or some other issue that went sideways for this to land as it did.

 

 
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15 minutes ago, Brad said:

Mark, I had sent my question before you made your post and I thought their various responses might be of interest, realizing that ultimately it doesn’t matter since the set is already made. I found their communication is a bit wanting but that’s life. 

Got it, and I agree the responses you got were inadequate.

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Fwiw, I just received this response:

“Lee is going to look at this closely Brad 
needs to refresh his memory as there were many changes made to the final product since the tapes were first located near 2 years ago”

The email was in response to my thought that there would have been space on the last disc to fit the song. 

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so, it seems Mingus agreed with me, according to a post elsewhere on this site from someone who witnessed this group around this time:

"I do remember that Mingus was increasingly unhappy with his side men through the evening, including Roy Brooks (who was the only one of them I thought I remembered, so thank you for confirming).  To the point where he scowled at them and told them all to lay out while he played a very extended bass solo."

 

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Mingus sounds still-medicated when he speaks here. I agree that other than Pullen, there would be no compelling reason to grab this release if it had been offered in real-ish time. But that time has long passed. Knowing what would soon come next (the return of Dannie, then Bluiett, then Adams, and then Walrath, and then the major Changes One album), I enjoy listening to this material (a few times, anyway) as the proverbial "period of transition" for Mingus as he returned to his "hollering at the band" form.

But objectively, yeah, Joe Gardner, hmmm. Stubblefield, still not fully developed, still playing essentially the same solo on everything (like Booker Ervin in that way, only without the life-on-the-line urgency). And Brooks is fine as he wants to be. But he ain't Dannie. Ain't nobody Dannie, ever/never.

But - it's a great package, you can feel the love in it. I don't know if it's of historic importance (probably not), but it is of historic interest. I'd buy it again, without hesitation.

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well, as I've said, I heard those '70s bands a lot - I was friends with Neloms and followed him around - and, I heard the Dannie Richmond band a lot, which Neloms was still playing with after Mingus died, and which was really the same band sans Mingus. I haven't listened to Changes in a long time, will have to revisit. There is just something about those '50s and '60s units that has spoiled me, where it sounds like, on every tune, everything is on the line.  Mingus even had Bluiett for a while, and though he tries to play chord changes, it ends up as just doing his thing over and over. 

Edited by AllenLowe
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