Columbia is putting together some terrific “Collection” box sets for bassists and bass enthusiasts. Among those is Charles Mingus – the Complete Columbia & RCA Albums Collection, a 10-disc set spanning seven titles by the late bassist and composer.
The set starts with Tijuana Moods, the lone RCA release in the collection, recorded in 1957 and released in 1962 as a 5-track album. Tijuana Moods was re-released in 1986 as a 9-track album, and again in 2000 with 12 tracks, and then finally again in 2010 as a 22-track, 2-disc set with alternate takes and bonus tracks. The 2010 release is what’s included in this new collection.
Mingus signed with Columbia in 1959 and recorded four “marathon” ensemble sessions in May and November, covering the material heard on three of the albums in the collection: Mingus Ah Um, Mingus Dynasty and Alternate Takes. (Alternate Takes collected unreleased alternate tracks from the Mingus Ah Um and Mingus Dynasty sessions.)
Mingus left Columbia to record landmark albums with Atlantic and Impulse!, before stepping out of the recording limelight for about five or six years. It was after this period that Mingus made his return to Columbia once again in 1971, recording two new albums in this collection: Let My Children Hear Music and Charles Mingus and Friends In Concert, with guests Gerry Mulligan, Gene Ammons, Lee Konitz, James Moody, Randy Weston and many others, including Bill Cosby as MC.
Last, but certainly not least, comes the 2-disc, posthumous release Epitaph, where in which jazz scholar/conductor Gunther Schuller’s rediscovery of the original Mingus charts were produced as a tribute to the bassist/composer. Guests Wynton Marsalis, Randy Brecker, John Handy, George Adams and others participated in this release.
The collection includes extensive liner notes by Mingus’ widow, Sue Mingus, who has managed various Mingus ensembles since the bassist’s death in 1979.
Charles Mingus – the Complete Columbia & RCA Albums Collection Album List:
- Tijuana Moods (RCA, 1957, double-CD)
- Mingus Ah Um (Columbia, 1959)
- Mingus Dynasty (Columbia, 1959)
- Alternate Takes (Columbia, 1959)
- Let My Children Hear Music (Columbia, 1971)
- Charles Mingus & Friends In Concert (Columbia, 1972, double-CD)
- Epitaph (Columbia, 1989, double-CD)