Pithecanthropus Erectus

Pithecanthropus Erectus

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by Charles Mingus
     
 

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Pithecanthropus Erectus was Charles Mingus' breakthrough as a leader, the album where he established himself as a composer of boundless imagination and a fresh new voice that, despite his ambitiously modern concepts, was firmly grounded in jazz tradition. Mingus truly discovered himself after mastering the vocabularies of bop and swing, and withSee more details below

Overview

Pithecanthropus Erectus was Charles Mingus' breakthrough as a leader, the album where he established himself as a composer of boundless imagination and a fresh new voice that, despite his ambitiously modern concepts, was firmly grounded in jazz tradition. Mingus truly discovered himself after mastering the vocabularies of bop and swing, and with Pithecanthropus Erectus he began seeking new ways to increase the evocative power of the art form and challenge his musicians (who here include altoist Jackie McLean and pianist Mal Waldron) to work outside of convention. The title cut is one of his greatest masterpieces: a four-movement tone poem depicting man's evolution from pride and accomplishment to hubris and slavery and finally to ultimate destruction. The piece is held together by a haunting, repeated theme and broken up by frenetic, sound-effect-filled interludes that grow darker as man's spirit sinks lower. It can be a little hard to follow the story line, but the whole thing seethes with a brooding intensity that comes from the soloist's extraordinary focus on the mood, rather than simply flashing their chops. Mingus' playful side surfaces on "A Foggy Day (In San Francisco)," which crams numerous sound effects (all from actual instruments) into a highly visual portrait, complete with honking cars, ringing trolleys, sirens, police whistles, change clinking on the sidewalk, and more. This was the first album where Mingus tailored his arrangements to the personalities of his musicians, teaching the pieces by ear instead of writing everything out. Perhaps that's why Pithecanthropus Erectus resembles paintings in sound -- full of sumptuous tone colors learned through Duke Ellington, but also rich in sonic details that only could have come from an adventurous modernist. And Mingus plays with the sort of raw passion that comes with the first flush of mastery. Still one of his greatest.

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Product Details

Release Date:
01/13/2008
Label:
Rhino/Wea Uk
UPC:
0081227361624
catalogNumber:
273616
Rank:
54701

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Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Charles Mingus   Primary Artist,Bass
Bobby Jones   Tenor Saxophone
Elvin Jones   Drums
Charles McPherson   Alto Saxophone
Dannie Richmond   Drums
Mal Waldron   Piano
Willie Jones   Drums
Jackie McLean   Alto Saxophone
J.R. Monterose   Tenor Saxophone
Eddie Preston   Trumpet
Willie Jones   Drums

Technical Credits

George Gershwin   Composer
Charles Mingus   Composer,Liner Notes
Tom Dowd   Engineer
Ahmet Ertegun   Liner Notes
Nesuhi Ertegun   Producer
Ira Gershwin   Composer
Nat Hentoff   Liner Notes
Hal Lustig   Engineer
Jean Ristori   Mastering
Bob Defrin   Art Direction
Stephen Innocenzi   Mastering
Claude Nobs   Liner Notes,Re-Release Coordinator
Urs Tschuppert   Booklet Design
Thierry Amsallem   Re-Release Coordinator
Yves Bigot   Liner Notes

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