Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Mingus' Final Session
svf | 03/15/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"First of all this is not a live album, this is Mingus' final studio session recorded in New York in 1977. The exact same music has appeared under the guise of various odd titles and labels, including a CD on Amazon called "His Final Work" (which is a couple bucks cheaper). Having heard only this particular release, I can't compare sound quality, packaging, etc. with the other releases of this material. I have to wonder if Mingus intended for this session to ever be commercially released: the sound quality, while quite good, has a certain dry, hollow quality to it or something. The performance itself may throw you off a bit... there is little of the edginess and raw energy usually heard on a Mingus album. The ensemble is a larger one, including brass, reeds, and vibes... notable names include Gerry Mulligan on bari sax and Lionel Hampton on vibraphone (who is featured quite prominently). Arrangements of Mingus chestnuts such as "Fables of Faubus" and "Peggy's Blue Skylight" are interesting to hear in this setting, though less dynamic than several other recorded versions. (Incidentally, the actual arrangements here were apparently not done by Mingus himself.) Of most interest to collectors are the tunes "Caroline Keikki Mingus" and "Farewell Farewell" which I have not heard elsewhere. They are both pleasant yet moody tone poems with lush harmonies characteristic of Mingus' late work. "Just for Laughs" and "Ellington's Sound of Love" are both reworkings of material heard on the wonderful "Changes" Atlantic albums. "It Might As Well Be Spring" is a pretty but sleepy run-through of the standard. Mainly of interest to Mingus fanatics and completists (myself included), this is an interesting document of Mingus' final days, but it hardly measures up to some of his other excellent later work such as "Changes (one & two)" and "Cumbia and Jazz Fusion.""