Bassist/composer Charles Mingus wrote and performed some of the 20th century's most passionate and complex music, some of it with lyrics. This 1995 live date recorded in Cologne, Germany, features the ever-evolving jazz vocalist Kevin Mahogany fronting the WDR Big Band with drummer Dennis Mackrel and ex-Mingus bandmates, trombonist Jimmy Knepper and alto saxophonist Charles McPherson. Together, they reveal another layer of Mingus's musical gifts. Mahogany's Kansas City-bred pipes cut through the velvet harmonic fog of the moody ballad, "Eclipse," with Knepper's fluent and fluid solo. The title track swings with a slinky, slow drag feel, capped by Mahogany's scats and McPherson's Charlie Parker-like flights. The band takes center stage on "Reincarnation of a Lovebird" and a 20-minute-plus medley. The dancing "Boogie Stop Shuffle" merges with the New Orleans grooved "Jelly Roll" and then heads into the Lester Young tribute, "Goodbye Porkpie Hat" (with lyrics by Rahsaan Roland Kirk). This, and the gospelized "Better Git Hit in Your Soul" offer a pleasing plate of Mingus's music served with Kevin Mahogany's urbane, down-home vocal spices. --Eugene Holley Jr.