Composer/bassist/pianist/leader Charles Mingus would have turned 100 on April 22, 2022. While the influential artist passed away in 1979 at the age of 56, his music has continued to inspire and influence countless musicians since. On April 22, Mingus' actual birthday, Rhino will release a deluxe 2CD or 2LP edition of his 1957 album for Jubilee Records, Mingus Three, featuring eight previously unreleased performances. The release also commemorates Jazz Appreciation Month, held every April in the United States.
Mingus Three, featuring the leader on bass, was a rare trio record for Mingus. He welcomed pianist Hampton Hawes and drummer Dannie Richmond to the sessions which yielded renditions of four familiar American Songbook standards ("Yesterdays," "I Can't Get Started," "Summertime," and "Laura") as well as two originals ("Back Home Blues" and "Dizzy Moods") and one jam credited to Hawes ("Hamp's New Blues"). The results were more accessible than many of Mingus' more complex efforts yet still imbued with the musicality and musicianship that mark his finest work. Billboard praised its "inventive interplay" and "rare cohesion," and noted that "Mingus, considered by some to be 'far out,' reveals his feeling for the grass roots of jazz...His bass work is excellent in context, and he contributes some startlingly pointed, musically interesting solos."
The 1957 album has been expanded with a second disc of eight tracks, all recently discovered in the London Parlophone Records vaults. These encompass alternate takes of every song on Mingus Three save "Laura," plus two untitled, improvised blues originals. The packages will replicate the original Jubilee sleeve and labels while the booklet adds new liner notes from pianist-arranger Sy Johnson (a Mingus collaborator in the 1970s) as well as period photos.
Johnson offers in the notes, "The Mingus Three session was booked for July 9, 1957. Mingus and Hawes brought their histories to the studio: Mingus with a long, powerful record of activism, outrage, and political attack anchored in serious music-making, and Hawes' fanfare of jazz awards and huge success--and he could play!! The date would ultimately become a dialogue between Mingus and Hawes with punctuation from Richmond."
Watch this space for more Jazz Appreciation Month releases from Rhino; in the meantime, the deluxe, expanded edition of Mingus Three is due in 2-CD, 2-LP (pressed on 180-gram vinyl), and digital formats on April 22. You'll find the track listing and pre-order links below.
Charles Mingus, Mingus Three (Deluxe Edition) (Parlophone/Rhino, 2022)
CD/LP 1: Original album (released as Jubilee JLP 1054, 1957)
- Back Home Blues
- I Can't Get Started
- Hamp's New Blues
- Dizzy Moods
CD/LP 2: Outtakes (previously unreleased)
- Untitled Blues
- Untitled Blues (Take 2)
- Back Home Blues (Take 6)
- Hamp's New Blues (Take 4)
- I Can't Get Started (Take 1)
- Yesterdays (Take 2 - Incomplete)
- Dizzy Moods (Take 2)
- Summertime (Take 3)