Changes I&II are NOT what I look for in Mingus
Jordan Hyman | St. Louis, MO USA | 08/14/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Let me explain: I do not have a jazz background in the least. When I became attracted to what Mingus had to offer, it had solely to do with his own sound. Mingus' compositions felt special to what he was doing and I never associated it with jazz, only with that strange, erratic world that he and only he seemed to create. There was no label for it. So for those of who are similar to me in that you were lead to Mingus somehow, and fell in love with that powerful organic energy and oddity, I would like to warn you to avoid Changes One & Two when collecting his catalogue.
Why? Because it feels "safe". It doesn't have the abrasive quality that I love in some of his other work. It's produced, often thin of sound, and mostly it sounds more like Jazz than it sounds like Mingus. It is nearly emotionless compared to Pithecanthropus Erectus, Mingus x5, and what I consider his masterpiece The Black Saint & the Sinner Lady.
On the other hand: there are wonderful moments. There is some good intense turbulance here and there (and the pianist he works with on this album is great at that) and there is one or two melodies that remind me of why his music can take me so much.
Now, I realize a lot of people love these two discs. And I'm here to reassure that I am only speaking to the Mingus followers who dwell as outcasts from the Jazz realm. These are probably very good jazz albums, but to me it simply sounds like what one would expect from a good jazz album. It doesn't draw the pictures in my head that I get from tracks like "Heart Beat and Shades and Physical Embraces" or "Pithecanthropus Erectus". It doesn't touch my heart like "Theme for Lester Young". And of course, I'll admit my aethsetic bias, it just isn't plain loud enough! Change One % Two is merely safe and quiet jazz that reminds of being in a fancy hotel (which is an environment I loathe).
Many of you may not agree with me, but I know there's people out there like me who'd be very, very disappointed to spend their money on these two albums."
Mingus' first late-career Milestone
finulanu | Here, there, and everywhere | 11/22/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"While Mingus' weirder side is the one more often discussed, I find him to be at his best when he explores blues and roots. That is exactly the territory Changes 1 enters. Which is why I like it, see? Either this or its successor (aptly titled Changes 2: The Summer Sequel Starring Everyone's Heartthrob, Charles Mingus!) is my favorite late-period Mingus disc. The best moment has got to be "Devil Blues", with a raw, convincing vocal and several wild sax solos that seem to be right out of Oh Yeah; the Ellingtonian big-band shuffle "Remember Rockefeller at Attica" (a very Mingus-ish title) has a wonderfully weird melody; and "Duke Ellington's Sound of Love" is a graceful tribute to the Duke, though Mingus does spend a bit too much time fiddling with his bass. The only questionable song is the never-ending story "Sue's Changes", which is totally weak, apart from the muted trumpet melody which seemingly escaped from Miles Davis' canon. Along with the likes of Changes 2, Oh Yeah and Mingus Ah Um, Changes 1 represents Mingus at the height of his powers playing rootsy, earthy jazz."