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by CiTR & Discorder Magazine
CiTR -- The Jazz Show

Bassist/Composer Charles Mingus: "Jazz Portraits" (aka "Mingus in Wonderland"):


This album signals a new era for Mingus with the addition of two new and talented saxophonists to the ranks of his "Jazz Workshop". John Handy on alto saxophone and Booker Ervin on tenor blend beautifully and of course are fine musicians and original stylists. Their presence signals a new beginning for Mingus' music and a great productive period. This album is part of a concert performed at the Nonagon Art Gallery in New York on January 16,1959. 1959 was one of Mingus' great years. Horace Parlan was Mingus' regular pianist and he was called away on a family emergency but Handy recommended his friend Richard Wyands to sub. Wyands played Mingus' difficult music with no problem and fit right in. Only four tunes make up this album but they are all superb. Handy, Ervin, Wyands all driven by Mingus on bass and Dannie Richmond's creative drumming. From the The excitement of "No Private Income Blues" to the ballad mastery of John Handy and Mingus on Vernon Duke's "I Can't Get Started" to "Nostalgia in Times Square" to the haunting "Alice's Wonderland" this is a great concert. Strangely when first issued it was given only 2 out of 5 stars and dismissed as inconsequential. This is the last album of under reviewed albums that deserved much more. No one would dismiss this classic today so enjoy and check out the majesty of Mingus' music with this superb edition of his Jazz Workshop.



by CiTR & Discorder Magazine