Charles Mingus: Trio (1957) Japan

(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.

Vinyl: Japan

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),.



Collector notes:

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.

14 thoughts on “Charles Mingus: Trio (1957) Japan

  1. Mingus’ “Oh Yeah” on Atlantic dates from 1962 and not 1972! Whether you like the album or not, one should bear in mind that the record is meant to be provocative, mockery and full of persiflage. If one takes that into the equation, it is a record not to be discarded lightly.. It merits repeated listening and many interesting features will pop up: Doug Watkins’ bass playing, the mocking sounds of Kirk, impressive Booker as always, the great Knepper. Agreed, less succesful, to say the least, is “Passions of a Man”. I could have done without these mumblings in fake African dialects.
    Three long, instrumental tracks from the same session were issued on Atlantic 1416. Not to be missed. The other side of this album has unissued tracks from “the Clown” – 1957.
    The last great Mingus recording sessions for me were in 1963 for Impulse, producing the majestic “the Black Saint and the Sinner Lady”. Agree with LJC that thereafter his output was less interesting.

    • Oh Yeah, 1962, of course, not 1972, I know that (now), an innocent mistake made nearly six years ago, I was young and foolish, well, foolish, I plead guilty.

      The prohibition on vocals however remains in place, (aside from Mingus Presents, on Candid, which is I think the only one in the collection) Doctors said wine women and song would be my downfall. It was then I decided the singing had to go.

      • It was good to prohibit “Gesang”, but it is not enough: Dijsselbloem mentioned “Wein und Weiber” only, but was under heavy attack in the European Parliament. So you are required to go one step further in your elimination process. Not an easy choice.

    • my Mingus favorites are, as Rudolf’s, 1956-1963: from Pithecanthropus Erectus to Mingus x5; 1964 is important too, not for Mingus but for Dolphy.

    • Wait! People don’t like “Oh Yeah?” For shame! A plague on all of your houses! 😉

      No wonder original copies are so cheap.

      • The case for the prosecution (Jazz Review) :

        “Hog Callin'” is a fevered call-and-response, a device used throughout. “Ecclusiastics” could almost be gospel, brass band flourishes and shouts from the leader.Then a funeral band passes by: “Atomic Bomb” mourns slow, and the air is riddled with screams. Chazz rolls the old blues while Kirk mans the air-raid siren – it’s a blast. “Passions” is an odd experiment, like the stuff he planned for the movie Shadows. On a chaotic background (plucked piano strings, jungle drums) Mingus plays the tribal chief, peppering his speech with English words. “America” is one – and “atomic bomb“!

        I have almost every Mingus album of any importance, and I love them all, except Oh Yeah! Mingus on piano, and hollerin’? I haven’t changed my mind.

        The prosecution rests.

    • I’ve not the slightest idea. The post was a complete cluster-fu whatsit. The file is named “temp2-3.mp3” not very helpful, what the software I used then did. It’s very nice but it’s not Mingus, well spotted. I’ll fix it.

      UPDATE: fixed, correct rip at 320kpbs replaces unknown guitarist, awful photos from 2011 updated to modern standard.

  2. there are at least 2 mingus trios I know, this one and the famous Ellington-Mingus-Roach on United Artists: I never liked this nor the other.
    and I do love Mingus….

  3. Totally awesome! No, really, this is a great one. Good call on the Japanese pressing–I have also been unable to find a good and affordable original copy of this title.

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