Monday, May 5, 2014

The Jazz Thing, Round 1: Mingus v. Redman

The Jazz Thing, Round 1 (40 Word/Album Limit)

#19 Charles Mingus, "Ah Um" (1959) v. #99 Joshua Redman, "Wish" (1993).

I’m not sure yet what I’m supposed to listen for in Mingus. This album is generally considered amazing – hey, it’s #19! It has grown on me and now I like it -- but I haven’t figured out why it’s great jazz.


Immediately likeable, with a clean, airy sound and a masterful small ensemble invoking jazz’s range of night-time moods. Thirty years younger than most of the records in the Jazz Thing, which I didn’t realize when I was doing my listening.

Despite a feeling that I'm probably being gauche, Wish defeats Ah Um.


Ben said...

I listened to a bunch of Joshua Redman this weekend and really dug it!

mrs.5000 said...

OK, but I vote for the Ah Um album cover.

Michael5000 said...

Ben: That makes me feel better.

Mrs.: Absolutely, although the "Wish" cover captures the golden age of jazz album art pretty well, 30 years later.

pfly said...

I like Mingus and I'm not sure why. Maybe in part because he likes getting weird, but not too weird. I always confuse his albums "Ah Um" and "Oh Yeah". Checking now I remember I like "Oh Yeah" quite a bit more than "Ah Um". I really like the song "Ecclusiastics" on "Oh Yeah". It reminds me a little of some of Tom Waits's horn pieces.

pfly said...

Plus "Oh Yeah" has a song about chickens, and another about atomic bombs. Oh yea "Oh Yeah" is more fun than "Ah Um". The titles say as much really.

pfly said...

Yeah, it's nice. The slow horns, the looooong bending blue note, the double time leading to "oh yeah!". What's not to like?

Anonymous said...

Bite your tongue. Ah um! Mingus broke upon huge pieces of the earth (jazz) and like Altas or Hercules moved into entire yard(birds) at a time. Josh Redman was known as Josh Shedroff at Berkeley High and Harvard until he decided to forego Yale Law and do the jazz thing full time.

Jack Walrath who played trumpet in the last last Mingus quintet tells me that the charts for the Mingus Big Band are simplified significantly from what Charles would have wanted people to play.

Now I admit I cannot really hear the difference but others can.

Much respect to Josh but even he would admit he is not Mingus.

Michael5000 said...

See, I was kind of hoping that eventually people would start pushing back on me with the whole Jazz Thing thing.

Michael5000 said...

Pfly, somehow I missed your comments at the time. I am now grooving on "Ecclusiastics," if "grooving on" is acceptably hep jive.