Right from the first beat of "Tihuana Moods," you know you're in for the kind of class act only Mingus can give you. He finds a way to make this nine peace group sound as big and brassy as a Duke Ellington orchestra. Yet his off the cuff improvisations are anything but slick. These pieces, in Mingus's usual style, are not written down. He wanted the band to learn his music from ear.
"His forms are not skillful moulds into which notes and devices are to be poured, but spring naturally and inevitably from emotional- musical necessity, and sound like it. He will include unassimilated, the shouts, cries and sounds that are the source of the music." -- Martin Williams
One can almost hear the hot chili peppers in Mingus's stomach.
The second track, "Ysabel's Table Dance," features the clicking of castanets, wailing horns, the frantic yodelings of Lonnie Elder and the fresh piano stylings of Bill Triglia. hearing "Ysabel" is the sonic equivalent of swallowing the worm in the bottom of a Mezcal bottle.
Of the fourth raucous track, "Los Matriachis" (translates, "Street Musicians") Mingus writes: "It actually ends in a contest between Danny (Richmond) and myself to see who could outdo who in Tihuana's tequila-wine-women-song-and-dance. Danny lost: he was very hungry; I was starved."
Mingus in Mexico: the fun and the genius.
Charles Mingus And Friends in Concert, 1972
This double disc reissue of a classic Mingus concert has added 40 minutes to the original record -- without a dull moment to be had. It is also filled with photographs and extensive liner notes not to be found in the original release.
Recorded at Lincoln Centers Philharmonic Hall and emceed by Bill Cosby, this album brings to life the plush multi-jeweled big band sound Mingus could not have afforded most of his career. He surrounds himself with jazz greats such as Dizzy Gillespie and Lee Konitz. Honey Gordon sings "Eclipse," and "Portrait," -- two songs Mingus originally wrote for Billie Holiday. Throughout, "Mingus and Friends" swings with both fiery hot temper and dreamy romanticism.