Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
The Complete 1959 Columbia Recordings
Genres: Jazz, Pop
This three-CD box, with its 28 Mingus ensemble tracks, rounds out a portrait of jazz in 1959, a year when Miles Davis recorded Kind of Blue, John Coltrane cut Giant Steps, and Ornette Coleman unloosed The Shape of Jazz to ... more »
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Amazon.com's Best of 1998
This three-CD box, with its 28 Mingus ensemble tracks, rounds out a portrait of jazz in 1959, a year when Miles Davis recorded Kind of Blue, John Coltrane cut Giant Steps, and Ornette Coleman unloosed The Shape of Jazz to Come. Mingus was on Columbia for a blink, only long enough to cut a couple of LPs (both of which appear here sans the unclean edits that've marred prior reissues). There is so much additional material here that the set warrants easy Best of 1998 kudos and nearly mandates that Mingus fans and jazz lovers one and all replace their prior copies. --Andrew Bartlett
Good, but also disappointing
George Grella | Brooklyn | 05/24/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The original 1959 session captured here produced two albums, "Mingus Ah Um" and "Mingus Dynasty." "Ah Um" is one of the greatest records in jazz history and is perfect in every way, and the latter is not too shabby either.Now comes this complete set, restoring all original edits and including alternate takes. It's great to have this music, but the result is a bit strange. The restoration on "Ah Um" show how smart the edits were, because the restored version is not as good, in comparison, the the original issued. It's a question of tightness. For example, one tune has the first chorus that Booker Ervin took on a solo, which had been cut out of the record. It was cut out because it wasn't that good; Ervin was a great player when inspired, but wasn't always *on,* and on the particular track it takes him time to find his way. One of the pleasures of "Ah Um" was how tight and concise it was, and these sessions aren't quite the same. Still fine music, but without the edge that made the original so astonishing.[Lest anyone object that this is a case of an artist vision being compromised in the past and now restored, blah blah blah, that's not true. Mingus was constantly involved in the recording process and like Miles Davis and even Glenn Gould used editing to make the best record he could]."Mingus Dynasty" does not suffer by comparison in the same way, since the original, while good, wasn't the same sort of masterpiece that, in the guise of completeness, is now flawed. That CD is still quite strong in this set. The final disc is alternate takes, interesting to listen to but definitely inferior to the masters.If Mingus is important to you, and the history and process of jazz interests you, this is a great set to have. If you are a jazz fan and don't need the complete everything, you'd do just fine buying "Ah Um" by itself - in fact, you're not a fan if you don't have it!"
I can't stop listening to it!
George Grella | 04/06/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Having just got into Jazz over the last six months and having some spare cash I decided that I wanted something special to add to my collection. This was my choice and it was worth every penny. The music is gripping. With Mingus's verbal direction being audible you feel that you're there in the studio with the guys. The cover photos and notes are superb. The end result is something which satisfies at both the gut and the intellectual level. So you think that the Alternate Takes sounds like a rip-off.Not a bit of it.Every track is worthy of being played time and time again. Inspirational!!!!"
Mingus for Beginners
George Grella | 12/28/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I picked up "The Complete 1959 Columbia Recordings" over the holidays and would list it as essential material for anyone just getting into jazz. As I have just started enjoying jazz myself I cannot speak to its ranking in jazz history, but as an introduction to jazz itself it is remarkable. While I cannot say that the editing is a plus over previous recordings (because I have not heard other recordings of the albums), it is obvious from the start of the first disk that the remastering was of good quality. And the playing is breathtaking, full of emotion and heart. Reguardless of your taste in music, a listen to this Mingus set and you will at least consider starting a jazz collection."