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Charles Mingus - The Clown



Analogue Productions (Atlantic 75 Series)



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UPC: 753088756061
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Also available on:
180 Gram Vinyl Record
45 RPM Vinyl Record

Analogue Productions (Atlantic 75 Series)

Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of Atlantic Records!

An absolute must-have for every jazz collector!

Hybrid Mono SACD

The Clown was Charles Mingus' second masterpiece in a row, featuring Jean Shepard (yes, that Jean Shepard from the holiday movie A Christmas Story) on the title tune narrating a story about a clown attempting to please the world with his performances. The Clown also introduced two of Mingus' finest compositions in the driving, determined "Haitian Fight Song" and the '40s-flavored "Reincarnation of a Lovebird," a peaceful but melancholy tribute to Charlie Parker; Mingus would return to both throughout his career.

With Pithecanthropus, Mingus displayed a gift for airtight, focused arrangements that nonetheless allowed his players great freedom to add to the established mood of each piece. The Clown refines and heightens that gift; instead of just writing heads that provide launch points for solos, Mingus tries to evoke something specific with every piece, and even his most impressionistic forays have a strong storytelling quality.

The Clown tells the story of a clown "who tried to please people like most jazz musicians do, but whom nobody liked until he was dead," Mingus said, in an interview. "My version of the story ended with his blowing his brains out with the people laughing and finally being pleased because they thought it was part of the act. I liked the way Jean changed the ending; leaves it more up to the listener."

The title track is even more interesting for the free improvisations led by trombonist Jimmy Knepper, as the group responds to Shepherd's story and paints an aural backdrop. It's evidence that Mingus' compositional palette was growing more determinedly modern, much like his increasing use of dissonance, sudden tempo changes, and multiple sections.

Charles Mingus, bass
Shafi Hadi, alto and tenor saxophone
Jimmy Knepper, trombone
Wade Legge, piano
Dannie Richmond, drums
Jean Shepherd, narration (Track 4)



1. Haitian Fight Song
2. Blue Cee
3. Reincarnation Of A Lovebird
4. The Clown

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