The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady

The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady

by Charles Mingus
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Overview

The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady

The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady is one of the greatest achievements in orchestration by any composer in jazz history. Charles Mingus consciously designed the six-part ballet as his magnum opus, and -- implied in his famous inclusion of liner notes by his psychologist -- it's as much an examination of his own tortured psyche as it is a conceptual piece about love and struggle. It veers between so many emotions that it defies easy encapsulation; for that matter, it can be difficult just to assimilate in the first place. Yet the work soon reveals itself as a masterpiece of rich, multi-layered texture and swirling tonal colors, manipulated with a painter's attention to detail. There are a few stylistic reference points -- Ellington, the contemporary avant-garde, several flamenco guitar breaks -- but the totality is quite unlike what came before it. Mingus relies heavily on the timbral contrasts between expressively vocal-like muted brass, a rumbling mass of low voices (including tuba and baritone sax), and achingly lyrical upper woodwinds, highlighted by altoist Charlie Mariano. Within that framework, Mingus plays shifting rhythms, moaning dissonances, and multiple lines off one another in the most complex, interlaced fashion he'd ever attempted. Mingus was sometimes pigeonholed as a firebrand, but the personal exorcism of Black Saint deserves the reputation -- one needn't be able to follow the story line to hear the suffering, mourning, frustration, and caged fury pouring out of the music. The 11-piece group rehearsed the original score during a Village Vanguard engagement, where Mingus allowed the players to mold the music further; in the studio, however, his exacting perfectionism made The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady the first jazz album to rely on overdubbing technology. The result is one of the high-water marks for avant-garde jazz in the '60s and arguably Mingus' most brilliant moment.

Product Details

Release Date: 11/07/1995
Label: Grp Records
UPC: 0011105017428
catalogNumber: 174
Rank: 60079

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Charles Mingus   Primary Artist,Bass,Piano,Track Performer
Charlie Mariano   Alto Saxophone
Jerome Richardson   Flute,Soprano,Baritone Saxophone,Soprano Saxophone
Dannie Richmond   Drums
Jay Berliner   Guitar
Quentin Jackson   Trombone
Don Butterfield   Tuba
Jaki Byard   Piano
Rolf Ericson   Trumpet
Dick Hafer   Flute,Tenor Saxophone
Charlie Manano   Alto Saxophone
Richard Gene Williams   Trumpet

Technical Credits

Charles Mingus   Liner Notes
Michael Cuscuna   Reissue Producer
Bob Simpson   Engineer
Bob Sompson   Engineer
Bob Thiele   Producer
Hollis King   Art Direction
Joe Lebow   Liner Design
Robert Flynn   Cover Design
Jackie Thaw   Graphic Design

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The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
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