West Coast: 1945-1949

West Coast: 1945-1949

by Charles MingusCharles Mingus


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This anthology collects a number of obscure 78s by Charles Mingus, many of which have not been reissued since they were originally released during the 1940s. Many of the vocal features are fairly traditional ballads, and Mingus was by no means an inventive lyricist, but it is the strong solos by the musicians within these tracks and the often rather progressive arrangements (even if their execution is not always perfect) that generally merit the most attention. One notable exception is Helen Carr's performance on the standard "Say It Isn't So," which opens with a superb bass solo by Mingus. Carr's sultry vocal is also accompanied by her then-husband Donn Trenner on piano; tragically, her only other recordings prior to her premature death were two records for Bethlehem. Among the instrumental tracks, "Shuffle Bass Boogie" is a lively 12-bar blues featuring Mingus at the forefront and fine solos by saxophonists Lucky Thompson and Willie Smith (two of the bigger names among the cast of lesser-known players). Buddy Collette's "Bedspread" is a mid-tempo swinger that is obviously influenced by Duke Ellington, and features some choice solos, especially by tenor saxophonist William "Brother" Woodman and the composer on alto sax. The exotic "Mingus Fingers," originally written by Mingus for Lionel Hampton, showcases Mingus in a boppish solo. Herb Caro, who died at 22, is heard on baritone sax on a big-band version of Mingus' "Story of Love" and on tenor sax in a later remake, which also features Eric Dolphy on alto sax and Russ Freeman on piano. Among the many other musicians heard on this CD are Roy Porter, Art Pepper, Richard Wyands, and Red Callender. Andrew Homzy's thorough liner notes and the many period photographs included provide additional insight into the early career of Charles Mingus. Highly recommended.

Product Details

Release Date: 01/02/2001
Label: Uptown Jazz
UPC: 0026198274825
catalogNumber: 2748
Rank: 77439

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Charles Mingus   Primary Artist,Bass,Piano,scat,Dialogue
Buddy Childers   Trumpet
Buddy Collette   Clarinet,Alto Saxophone
Eric Dolphy   Clarinet,Flute,Alto Saxophone
Russ Freeman   Piano
Jimmy Knepper   Trombone
Art Pepper   Clarinet,Alto Saxophone
Willie Smith   Alto Saxophone
Lucky Thompson   Tenor Saxophone
Richard Wyands   Piano
Helen Carr   Vocals
Britt Woodman   Trombone
Wilbert Barranco   Piano
John Berger   Percussion,Drums
Jimmy Bunn   Piano
Red Callender   Bass
Henry Coker   Trombone
John Coppola   Trumpet
Maxwell Davis   Tenor Saxophone
Donn Trenner   Piano
Hobart Dotson   Trumpet
Karl George   Trumpet
Jewell L. Grant   Clarinet,Alto Saxophone
Bob Mosley   Piano
Gene Porter   Clarinet,Baritone
Roy Porter   Drums
Eddie Preston   Trumpet
Allen Smith   Trumpet
Don Smith   Tenor Saxophone
Chuck Thompson   Drums
Cal Tjader   Drums
Lee Young   Drums
Andre Peele   Trumpet
John Anderson   Trumpet
William Woodman   Tenor Saxophone,Baritone
Claude Trenier   Vocals
Warren Thompson   Drums
Lady Will Carr   Piano
N.R. "Nat" Bates   Trumpet
Herb Caro   Baritone
Haig Eshow   Trombone
Herb Gayle   Vocals
Bud Hooven   Alto Saxophone
Alex Megyesy   Tenor Saxophone
Bob Lowry   Trombone
Bob Olney   Clarinet,Flute,Alto Saxophone
Dante Perfumo   Flute
Everett Pettis   Vocals
Marty Smith   Trombone
Buddy Harper   Guitar

Technical Credits

Irving Berlin   Composer
Buddy Collette   Composer
Charles Mingus   Composer
M.D.   Producer
Johnny Burke   Composer
Chuck Nessa   Producer
Jesse Cryor   Composer
J.A. Griffin   Composer
Robert E. Sunenblick   Producer,Liner Notes
Arthur Johnston   Composer
Andrew Homzy   Liner Notes
Harry Link   Composer
Jack Strachey   Composer
Holt Marvell   Composer
Herb Caro   Composer

Customer Reviews

West Coast: 1945-1949 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Composer/bassist/bandleader arrived in New York in the early Fifties after stints with Lionel Hampton and Red Norvo, seemingly a multi-talented and fully-formed musician. Unknown to most was that the musician had a long career in Los Angeles bands dating back to the early Forties. Remarkably, the many recordings that Mingus made in L.A. in the mid-Forties have not been reissued, at least until this historic collection. Given the minuscule size of the record companies for which he recorded, perhaps it's a miracle that these sides survived at all. Mingus led his own group on most of these sessions, which featured mostly originals compositions. Amazingly, Mingus was already composing unusually complex and ambitious works that reflected some of the harmonic development of the then-current bebop movement, yet the music itself cannot be classified as bebop. Instead, Mingus seems to be exploring the implications that bebop harmonies could have on jazz composition. Tadd Dameron and Miles Davis, among others, would pursue similar ideas in the late Forties, but Mingus, as usual, seems to be moving in his own individual direction. Given Mingus' musical background, his individualistic approach to jazz composition is hardly surprising. Classically trained, Mingus was writing classical/jazz hybrids even as a teenager. In a more racially tolerant era, he would almost certainly have pursued a career as a classical cellist or composer. Fortunately, jazz gave him a forum to pursue his musical aspirations. These seminal recordings are an intriguing peak at his ability to wed jazz harmonies, instrumentation and rhythms to classically-influenced musical forms. His ambitions were enormous, perhaps only exceeded by Duke Ellington among jazz musicians. If Mingus could be accused of inconsistency in his music, he could never be accused of complacency. That said, these early works are not the equal of his classic recordings of the mid to late Fifties. Some of these tracks feature vocalists, in an obvious attempt at a hit record, while other numbers are interesting experiments at best. Still, it's a revelation to hear so many elements of Mingus' later style already at work in his music. Every serious fan of Charles Mingus will want to hear these recordings, and the compilers of this set have done a magnificent job. The CD comes with an extraordinary booklet.