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Mingus Big Band, Orchestra, & Dynasty: I Am Three

- CD Reviews

Mingus Big Band Orchestra and Dynasty - I Am Three
2005 Sue Mingus Music

Mingus Big Band, Mingus Orchestra, Mingus Dynasty

Featuring: Kenny Rampton on Trumpet, Craig Handy on Alto Sax and Flute, Seamus Blake on Tenor Sax,
Ku-umba Frank Lacy on Trombone, Orrin Evans on Piano, Boris Kozlov on Bass, and Donald Edwards on Drums

Plus: Randy Brecker, Jeremy Pelt, Jack Walrath, and Walter White on Trumpets; Alex Foster, Jaleel Shaw, and Miguel Zenon on Alto Saxophones; Wayne Escoffery and Abraham Burton on Tenor Saxophones; Ronnie Cuber and Scott Robinson on Baritone Saxophones;
Conrad Herwig and Earl McIntyre (also Tuba) on Trombones; George Colligan and John Hicks on Piano; Jonathan Blake on Drums;
Bobby Routch on French Horn; Douglas Yates on Bass Clarinet; Michael Rabinowitz on Bassoon; and Jack Wilkins on Guitar.


Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
September 6, 2005

(See a Review of Mingus Big Band at Iridium).

This CD is exceptionally interesting and eclectic, with mostly abstract compositions, all by Charles Mingus, and arranged by the late John Stubblefield, saxophonist, as well as by Robin Eubanks, Sy Johnson, Earl McIntyre, Boris Kozlov, and one spontaneous band arrangement. With themes of death and jail cells, as well as a dress and Paris, the moods and music are varied and versatile, with one of the largest lists of renowned jazz musicians, ever, to grace one new recording, which was created in three separate sessions.

Notable tracks:

#1 – Song with Orange – Arranged by John Stubblefield. This initial and extra-long track is led by piano, followed by band, in a midnight manner, before it becomes swingable, danceable. George Colligan, on piano, with trumpets, saxes, and trombone create sensational, exuberant sound that builds in dynamic and daring.

#4 – Paris in Blue – Arranged by Earl McIntyre. Against muted trumpets and tiny flute effects, Frank Lacy sings with a throaty dramatic style, and this cool, urban sound, assisted by Seamus Blake on tenor sax, goes wild. This piece is very Paris, with its sophistication and sensuality.

#8 – Todo Mondo – Arranged by Sy Johnson. Seamus Blake and Craig Handy on tenor and alto saxes lead this lengthy piece, with moody and melodramatic motifs. Abstract, introspective sound is mesmerizing and magnetic in this superb arrangement.

#9 – Wednesday Prayer Meeting – Spontaneous band arrangement. Kenny Rampton on trumpet and Orrin Evans on piano, assisted by Boris Kozlov on bass, as well as the full band, have created an amazing arrangement on the spur of the recording moment. Rampton’s piercing sound introduces the piece, which sounds different on each listening, sometimes jazzy, sometimes gospel.

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at