Charles Mingus “Parker-iana” (excerpt)
Johnny Coles (tp -2) Eric Dolphy (as, bcl, fl -2) Clifford Jordan (ts -2) Jaki Byard (p) Charles Mingus (b -2) Dannie Richmond (d -2) recorded “Salle Wagram”, Paris, France, April 17, 1964
Having enjoyed the Enja label live concert in Wuppertal, Germany, my eye was caught by a box-set vinyl on the French America label of the Mingus Sextet in Paris 18/19th April 1964, recorded a week before the Wuppertal date.
The sextet was actually a quintet. Despite being named in the credits, trumpeter Johnny Coles was languishing in a Paris hospital bed, having collapsed on stage due to ulcer problems during the performance of “So long Eric” (nearly So Long Johnny). He is present on the record in the form of an edit taken from the Salle Wagram concert two days previously, before his collapse. The title of the album “Memorial Charles Mingus” also seems odd, as he was very much alive at the time of its release. Or possibly not.
Triple vinyl albums are not recommended for remote control-waving sofa-dwellers. With six sides to play, you get the equivalent of a trip to the gym running between sofa and turntable. I recommend multitasking, by topping up your glass of wine on each trip, thereby making a virtue of necessity, and increasing your enjoyment of the music immeasurably.
Billed as “The Great Concert”, previous good experience with the French America label led me to expect a high audio quality, however the recording is a little lacking in dynamic range and a bit woolly, I think possibly down to the sound engineers rather than the pressing. Though it claims to be Stereo, there is not much in the way of soundstage or positioning. The Wuppertal/Enja recording definitely has the edge. Vorsprung Technik and all that. But once acclimatised, it’s good enough to settle down and enjoy the music. Before its time to get up and change the record over.
Orange Was The Colour Of Her Dress, Then Blue Silk:
Vinyl: America (F) 30 AM 003/005