Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Great lost Mingus 10" hiding inside this LP
Johnny Thursday | NYC Metro Area | 07/05/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"BACKGROUND: Teddy Charles led a bunch of 50s sessions with unique voicings and less emphasis on the piano than was the norm. They were recorded before the LP thing had really taken hold, so albums like this are actually reissues cobbling together the fruits of a couple of sessions. On "Evolution" two pieces come from an August 31, 1953 West Coast sextet with Shorty Rogers, Jimmy Giuffre, Shelly Manne, and the great Curtis Counce. These numbers really ain't all that. A far more important session involved a pianoless quartet in January 1955 featuring J.R. Monterose on tenor saxophone and Charles Mingus on bass. All of that recording is here, it was originally released as "Teddy Charles' New Directions Quartet" on a Prestige/New Jazz 10" LP. This is one of the overlooked Mingus sessions, probably because it isn't on any of his box sets, has no original Mingus material, and isn't under his leadership.
MUSIC: Relaxo Abstracto sums it up. Mostly bright, there's moments where the whole thing sets down a vintage late-night 'where has my love/life gone?' jazz vibration. There isn't much J.R. Monterose available (e.g. his Blue Note record) so that's a huge plus for the disc. His parts are fresh and leave you wanting more (e.g. Dorham's Cafe Bohemia). Definitely one of those players who is Jazz Workshop legend. He naturally evokes a lot of Mingus steez when he plays behind on the uptempo bits. Jerry Segal plays on drums. Sometimes you wish he didn't wash out as much bottom end with his cymbal work. He plays well. Its a given when you got a guy like Mingus prodding. Teddy Charles is a pretty tame player, on point but slightly cliche and dated. He is at his best when working the atmosphere and not out front playing pretty. I find him weakest on the slowed down ballads (which are ironically my favorite cuts on the record, due to their basswork). Charles Mingus is easily the best part of this session. He doesn't need a piano, folks. Not only is his support rock-solid but the solos, especially the extended workout, are spellbinding. Sometimes he sounds bored and relieves it by pulling off some virtuoso move in the background, then comments on this practice later by humorously 'walking' into the first few bars of one of his solos. Subtle but sublime.
CONCLUSION: I wrote this review because I feel that this New Directions Quartet material is a forgotten chapter in the Mingus story. That's a shame as the bass playing here is some of the best we have on this kind of material. The instrumentation is most intriguing too, and you know if Mingus and J.R. put together a group like this with Dannie Richmond and (I'm fantasizing here) Walt Dickerson everyone would be talking about it all the time. Too bad Charlie didn't go for vibes past Red Norvo and Teddy Charles....but then again you'd really have to bang a gong to be heard in the full roar of the workshop, and Mingus didn't play sideman too many times after this outing. If you are a Mingus head or are studying his playing, get this. Same for J.R. Monterose. If you absolutely can't stand vibraphone then really don't get this. But even though it's a little stiff, you will still be able to impress all your Mingus f(r)iends. The cover's pretty sweet, too. The recording companies won't be making new music like this for awhile."
Excellent third stream majors on a classic LP
C. Katz | Peoples Republic Of Massachussettes | 12/16/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Don't like term "Third Stream" or even "Cool Jazz" for that matter (though with some folks at certain times like Miles or Mulligan latter term applies).But this is an Lp of guys who went there own way.It's among the classics of the Prestige label in 50's (only better known is Teddy Charles Tentette on Atlantic).Nice relaxed and sophisticated jazz.Shorty Rogers was studio magician (and from my home town Great Barrington Mass born one Milton Rajonsky)and very adaptable from being band leader,film and session ace.Jimmy Giuffre is the one most associated with "third Stream sound.And they have some guy named Mingus on bass.If you like it check out his other collaborations with some of same personnel.I also.I liked Teddy Charles "Vibe Rant".Good if your into vibes for sure.Check out Jazz Foundation Of America in these hard times.