Charles Mingus Mingus Dynasty (1959) Columbia


Selection 1: Song with Orange

Selection 2: Mood Indigo (Ellington)

Mingus dons the Ellington mantle, and carries it off with flair.

Encore: (Joe L’s hot pick) : Slop 


Richard Williams, Don Ellis(t) Jimmy Knepper (trb) Jerome Richardson (fl, bars) John Handy (as) Booker Ervin, Benny Golson (ts) Teddy Charles (vib) Roland Hanna, Nico Bunick (p) Charles Mingus (b) Dannie Richmond (d) Seymour Barab, Maurice Brown (cello) recorded Columbia 30th Street Studios, NYC, November 1 and 13,1959

1959Mattel launches the  Barbie doll; Miles Davis records Kind of Blue; Nixon and Khrushchev engage in the great “Kitchen Debate”, agreeing finally on a pastel colour finish with faux-granite worktops, only to fall out over whose turn it is to do the washing up.


An unjustly neglected album recorded only six months after the classic Ah Um, in  the same year as Jazz Portraits and Blues and Roots. It features a nonet and tentet with a  tightly orchestrated compositions, a number of which were destined for film and television scores. Mingus Dynasty probably comes closer to Mingus’s  Ellingtonian heritage than other of his albums, and definitely benefits from stereo presentation.

Mingus song titles are always a feature: “Gunslinging Bird” on the album, full title  “If Charlie Parker Were a Gunslinger, There’d Be a Whole Lot of Dead Copycats“. Typical Mingus, with its hip literary aspirations, as in “The Shoes Of The Fisherman’s Wife Are Some Jive Ass Slippers” and the brain-gymnastics of  “All The Things You Could Be By Now If Sigmund Freud’s Wife Was Your Mother”. Still haven’t figured where Mrs Freud fits in.

Followers of The Evil Silver Disc will be delighted to know the CD of Mingus Dynasty restores to full-length  some songs which had solos cut short on the original LP. However, you can’t get away from it, evil is still evil, especially when there is more of it.

Vinyl: Columbia CS 8236, US Six Eye, deep groove, stereo, matrix 1D and 1F



Collector’s Corner

Source: Ebay (US)

Sellers Description:
Black/Red 6-Eye STEREO FIDELITY label, Black lettering, Deep Groove.
COVER: VG+ Some ringwear, medium seamwear, some creasing.
RECORD: M- Great, clean condition, just a few minor sleeve marks.

Another addition to the Six Eye Stereo collection. I have the Orange one-eye CBS, a CBS Oriole, and it is not on same planet, in my opinion.

LJC Thinks:

LJC Thinks some moreI read something recently on the subject of record and hi fi reviews which struck a chord. It was this.  No-one really knows what anyone else hears.

Thinking about it, it’s true. I only really know what I hear, and sometimes I’m not even sure of that. Sometimes I am only remembering what I thought about what I heard, which is not the same thing. I am remembering an opinion, not a sound.

Sound memory is probably about as reliable as colour memory. Exactly what shade of red? And my hearing is almost certainly different from yours, at different frequencies, as audiometry would show. And my reference points are based on having listened to a lot of different things. My bad, your good, both can be true.

Every now and then I put on a record  I haven’t played for a while, but remember thinking at the time was one of the best pressings I had ever heard, only to find it rather ordinary.  It hasn’t changed, I have. Or the system has. Or something I am not aware of has.

Worse, I recently upgraded a copy of a record I can remember really liking. Only to find, on playing, I no longer like it at all.  May be philosopher-skiffle king Lonnie Donegan was right to ask the question Does your chewing gum lose its flavour on the bedpost over night? It is a serious question, to which I can only affirm: I suspect it may well do. But can I be really sure?

12 thoughts on “Charles Mingus Mingus Dynasty (1959) Columbia

  1. A great choice, LJC. But the under-rated Mingus I have been returning to frequently in recent months is EAST COASTING. Mingus de nasty, indeed.

  2. Mingus Dynasty, on a monaural Dutch Philips pressing, was my first “real” Mingus record (I put in another category the groups on Savoy with Teo Macero, interesting as they are). When I later acquired “Blues and Roots”,, I thought it to be much more convincing than Mingus Dynasty. So Dynasty went into oblivion. Only after some decades, I unearthed Mingus Dynasty and I am amazed how rich it is. The varied,,ellingtonian textures make it.a supreme listening experience and now I prefer Mingus Dynasty to Blues and Roots.

  3. I actually prefer the mono version of Mingus Dynasty as I feel it transmits the “Ellingtionian” nature of the music better. While it’s not as good as Ah Um or Blues & Roots in my opinion, it is definitely underrated!

      • Ha indeed! You could push the mono switch but the mono is a dedicated mix, not just the two channels of the stereo combined (not to open a can of Blue Note worms!). The stereo is very nice, didn’t mean to disparage your original pressing, I just like the mono on this title better and sold off my stereo copy a while ago. Regarding Ah Um, stereo vs. mono is a toss up for me so I still keep one of each.

        • I normally prefer mono too, but I have to say those Columbia six eye stereos have opened my eyes to other possibilities. What they achieved in the 30th Street Studios to my ears is different to the usual turn of the decade stereo. May be I need to invest in both mono and stereo copies from now on.

  4. Adore this record. “Slop” just straight-up rips. Plus the cover! “Unjustly neglected” is right – for just about any other artist, this would be a career highlight. For Mingus, it’s his 4th or 5th or 8th or 10th (or whatever) best album.

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