Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Dannie Richmond Quintet, Ricky Ford, Jack Walrath|
Last Mingus Band A.D.
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What a Way to Keep Up the Tradition!
Teemu Mäki | Helsinki, Finland | 10/17/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is practically a posthumous Charles Mingus album. Mingus doesn't play on it - he is replaced, very capably, by Cameron Brown - but it is lead by Dannie Richmond, who played with Mingus longer than anybody else. The rest of the band; Ricky Ford, Bob Neloms and Jack Walrath; were Mingus-veterans too. Most importantly, the album's real meat are the two versions of the Mingus-composed Cumbia and Jazz Fusion, which together take 46 minutes of the CD's 65-minute playing time. Between these long pieces there are three shorter pieces that let the band relax a bit with simpler structures.
It's wonderful to have this group really digging into Cumbia and Jazz Fusion, since the version that was recorded by Mingus himself merely three years earlier was not a complete success. That one was recorded by a much bigger and a rather anonymous band and Mingus was not any more in good enough health to really whip the band ahead. Now when Richmond, Ford, Walrath and Neloms tackled this composition on their own (with Brown) after the leader was gone, it is audible that they were trying much harder and achieving more.
Why was that? It would have been easy to presume the opposite. Maybe it was down to two things. Firstly, this time they had an abundant amount of solo space and also much less cluttered structures as their background. Seems to have been an inspiring challenge. Secondly, they must have felt that if they dare to touch this material after Mingus's death they have to succeed - otherwise it would have been a disgrace. Dannie Richmond is self-confident enough to say in the liner notes: "...I've always been of the conviction that we could play it (Cumbia...) with more enthusiasm in the true musical sense than all 15 of the other musicians (that were on the original recording), because of the fact that we know the interpretation that Mingus meant concerning this particula piece. And after playing it and living with it and knowing the story behind this particular tune, it means that we can really play it." After listening to this CD again and again, I must say that Dannie's pride and confidence was absolutely justified.
Ford and Walrath are chronically underrated great musicians. They are not the most individual stylists in Jazz history, but on their best recordings - usually as sidemen - they often rise to the level of legends.
The band plays hard, the tension is as high as it was in the most spirited Mingus albums and the recording is excellent. It not only resembles the last great Mingus small-group albums like "Mingus Moves" and "Changes One & Two", but actually tops them with more stretching and fire.
The album deserves five stars, though I admit that there is nothing obviously "special", unique or "of historical importance" in it - it's just basic Jazz, but exceptionally well played and full of spice and humour. If it comes your way, snap it up."