(Updated May 21, 2017)
Selected Track: “Dizzy Moods” (updated May 21, 2017)
Charles Mingus (b) Danny Richmond (d) Hampton Hawes (p) Recorded 1957
Mingus, teamed with the mercurial brilliance of west coast pianist Hampton Hawes and stalwart Dannie Richmond. Hawes is in sparkling form whilst Mingus asserts himself fully on the bass, leaving Richmond to tie it together. Every label at that time had the popular piano trio format , like Three Sounds, Red Garland, Kenny Drew, Horace Parlan. Mingus Trio is three individual musicians playing simultaneously rather than piano supported by rhythm section, though the selected track I confess is a bit “conventional piano trio”. As always a different type of Mingus album from his other, equally different ones.
Nice Japanese pressing by Nippon Columbia, with all the usual rich bass and dynamic mid to upper range. Important with only three players, no compressed dynamics, and near-silent vinyl, as surface noise would stand out here like a mariachi hand shaker in a funeral march.
Not as much punch as an original US press, but smooth and refined, to enhance the detail of the musical performance. Mono too, removing the distraction of spatial separation. With piano trio, the instruments are already separated by their tonal range, and to me it doesn’t add anything to also separate in stereo.
I have not seen Jubilee labels before, as original or facsimile. Jubilee was a Fifties rock and pop label which was eventually bought by Roulette Records. Strange company but it seems Mingus saw record labels as a constraint on his chosen musical directions.
Nippon Columbia Japan (1977),.
After finding two fairly well trashed original copies in a row, I decided a “safety purchase” was called for, and what should pop up on Ebay but a Japanese press, described as “rare”. That damned “rare” word again, but this time it didn’t pull in the crowds. As sole bidder I bagged it for £6. Perfect condition and a good enough result, I thought, for less than the price of a CD.
Mingus Trio more or less completes my collection of significant work early and mid-period Mingus 1956-65 and I can put up the collector’s “No More Mingus, Thank You” sign. I am not fond of his later recordings, and definitely not “Oh Yeah!” (1962) , Mingus playing piano throughout whilst howling about chicken and not dropping atom bombs on him. As though you would.