Bassist Charles Mingus was always ready for a good fight. In the liner notes to this disc, Mingus says he wanted to respond to critics who said he didn't swing enough. And reply he did. Mingus gave whoever these absurd qui... more »bblers were some of the most ecstatic blues ("Moanin'" and "Cryin Blues"), gospel ("Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting"), and Dixieland ("My Jelly Roll Soul") the jazz world has ever heard. Along with his striking original compositions, the instrumental combination in Mingus's nonet remains unconventional: the frontline included four saxophonists and two trombonists without the counterweight of a trumpeter. The leader's sliding-octave bass lines and percussive slaps are totally rollicking, and the wild abandon in the group's playing is irrepressible. --Aaron Cohen« less
Bassist Charles Mingus was always ready for a good fight. In the liner notes to this disc, Mingus says he wanted to respond to critics who said he didn't swing enough. And reply he did. Mingus gave whoever these absurd quibblers were some of the most ecstatic blues ("Moanin'" and "Cryin Blues"), gospel ("Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting"), and Dixieland ("My Jelly Roll Soul") the jazz world has ever heard. Along with his striking original compositions, the instrumental combination in Mingus's nonet remains unconventional: the frontline included four saxophonists and two trombonists without the counterweight of a trumpeter. The leader's sliding-octave bass lines and percussive slaps are totally rollicking, and the wild abandon in the group's playing is irrepressible. --Aaron Cohen
Doug S. (dschulte) from ARLINGTON, VA Reviewed on 5/23/2010...
Great CD- really swings.
0 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Mingus? Bass and Compositions Shine
M. Allen Greenbaum | California | 03/16/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This album is similar in feeling to the great "Mingus Ah Um." Overall, it highlights Mingus' blues/gospel influences. "Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting," (5:39) for example, in the tradition of songs like "Better Git It Into Your Soul"("Mingus Ah Um") and "Slop ("Mingus Dynasty")." Unfortunately, this driving piece is flawed by (the otherwise-excellent) Horace Parlan's repetitive piano--for a few seconds it seemed like the CD was stuck. The song is rooted in a deep mix of trombone (Willie Dennis), tenor sax (the amazing Booker Ervin), and bass, and punctuated by Mingus' trademark shouts. "Cryin' Blues is also steeped in Mingus' bass (excellent solo work and well-recorded) and the soulful anchor of Pepper Adams' baritone sax. Parlan lays down some bluesy riffs and Jackie McLean leads the way home with his solo on this five-minute cut. "Moanin'" (7:57) and "Tensions" (6:27) are blues-oriented pieces, dominated by Mingus' intense, virtuoso bass, a strong solo by Ervin, and fiery ensemble playing. "My Jelly Roll Soul" (6:47) is a light, zesty, and almost tongue-in-cheek cut inspired by early jazz pianist Jelly Roll Morton. Dannie Richmond lays down some brushwork and other flourishes. "E's Flat Ah's Flat Too (6:37) is kind of an amalgamation of the previous cuts, with Mal Waldron taking over on piano. Mingus' compositions and bass playing are the highlights here There's not quite as much solo work by the other musicians compared to other Mingus albums, although there's enough to keep things lively and interesting. I don't have the original CD, but I didn't notice anything exceptional about the remastering except to note that Mingus is recorded very well. I mention this only because there's another slightly more expensive "Blues and Roots" available at Amazon. (See Amazon CD: Wea/Atlantic/Rhino; ASIN: B00000348B. There is no mention of remastering but there are five alternate takes.) Mingus notes that he taught the compositions to the group by ear rather than as written music, "so they'd play the compositional parts with as much spontaneity and soul as they'd play a solo." He and the ensemble obviously succeed. "Ah Um" is probably the better CD, but this is very much worth having."
Blues and Roots: A boiling cauldron of soul
karl goltos | Portland, OR USA | 07/12/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Technically difficult music that drips with rhythm and soul - The ultimate jazz album? You betcha! Similiar to Ah Um, this record stands the test of 100s of listenings because of its amazing musicianship and beautifully-complex compositions. On every song it seems, you hear one perfect, funky line by one instrument, which is then combined with another completely different melody by another...and another and another, until you have 10 players soloing over each other without stepping on toes. Its a prayer meetin' with brains! The extra tracks are great, but are in mono (good quality mono though). Buy this now!"
N. Dorward | Toronto, ON Canada | 01/20/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"While this isn't quite in the front rank of Mingus albums--_Mingus Ah Um_, recorded with a similarly-constituted band for Columbia, is a much more ambitious & wide-ranging album--_Blues & Roots_ is nonetheless a characteristically powerful & tempestuous recording by the bassist. His curious habit of constantly reworking compositions, pet chord progressions, phrases & ideas is strongly evident here--perhaps a little too strongly: "Moanin'" & "E's Flat Ah's Flat Too", in particular, are identically structured musical rounds built up over Pepper Adams' full-tilt baritone riffs. "Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting" & "My Jelly Roll Soul" are also worth cross-referencing to performances on other Mingus albums of the period.The ten-strong band on here is superb--Jackie McLean, Booker Ervin, Jimmy Knepper, John Handy, Pepper Adams, Horace Parlam & Mal Waldron..... A special word for Willie Dennis, a tragically short-lived trombonist who never recorded much in his lifetime but was a truly astonishing musician--check out Ronnie Ball's (deleted, but not hard to find) Savoy disc with Dennis & Ted Brown in the front line for a rare extended sample of Dennis's improvisational powers. On _Blues & Roots_, alas, he only gets the briefest of look-ins.A fine, very enjoyable album: give it a listen."
If this doesn't move you, you can't be moved
spoonyjoefromdownbelow | San Francisco, CA | 05/16/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Click on "listen" next to "Moanin" above. That's all you need to do.
The first time I heard Mingus wail in the background of that song, my heart sprang up out my throat. I haven't seen it since.
Now try "Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting."
While you're at it, you might as well check out the rest, but keep in mind that these songs have twists and turns that can only be experienced when you hear the entire song. You might as well just buy the CD. You can thank me later."
The Turning Point for Charles...
Dijaldi | Seattle, WA USA | 07/15/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is the album that abounds with Charles Mingus' unique vision of music and his insight into his own soul. While it's true that there are Mingus compositions that have the same "feel" and the same exuberance, such as "Pithecanthropus Erectus" and "Haitian Fight Song," this is the album where every song is inundated with Charles Mingus the man and Charles Mingus the unique human being. Every album he made after this retains the essence of "Blues And Roots," the loving personalization of earlier song forms and many of the 6/8 stylizations heard here on "Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting." Earlier Mingus albums such as "The Clown" only hint at what has become, in my mind, the Mingus sound. This isn't my favorite Mingus album, (should there be such a thing?); "Oh Yeah" earns that distinction. "Blues And Roots" is the explosion that really starts Charles Mingus' most creative period. An essential jazz album; an essential album of truly American Music, from the man who I predict will dominate history's recollection of 20th Century Music in the the 21st century."