Friday, May 18, 2007

Charles Mingus - "Orange Was the Color of Her Dress; Then Silk Blues"

Mingus Plays Piano is a curious record, the type that a rock artist could never get away with, but from a jazz artist is a treasure. The title is as literal as you can get: it's just Chazz at the piano, noodling away, playing whatever pops into his head. The mic even picks him up scatting a bit in the background, as though he's just sketching out ideas. Piano isn't even his main instrument and he's still a captivating player.

I included this track primarily to make a point about how silly record collectors can be. It's taped off a double LP entitled Great Moments With Charles Mingus (no doubt), a poorly annotated cheap-o reissue consisting of the indispensible Black Saint and the Sinner Lady and Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus albums in their entirety, plus, just because there was space left on the records, a few tracks from Piano. I can't find any details about the record online; Mingus's official discography doesn't even mention it.

Mingus's Impulse! records are generally priced at a premium, but this one's got a tag for $7.99. I can't remember where I bought it, but rest assured it was purchased somewhere in New York, where either of its primary component records would be considered a bargain at twice that. And there's no way Piano would get stickered under ten either. All of which raises the same question that all premium-priced original-issues hint at: are you collecting baseball cards, or do you just love music?

Buy it... on vinyl.

From my deck to you: Charles Mingus - "Orange Was the Color of Her Dress; Then Silk Blues"

So next week, in honour of Mingus being such a killer bassist, I'll post a few hiphop cuts with killer basslines.

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