The five Charles Mingus albums included in this set represent two of his three periods with Atlantic Records. These also represent the great composer and bandleader during his most prolonged period of creativity and discovery; they helped to establish his legend. This period begins with the first album in this set, 1956's Pithecanthropus Erectus
and continued relentlessly through his two Changes
volumes (not included here) for Atlantic in the early '70s -- there were numerous recordings, many of them classics, in the years between his various Atlantic stays. Three of the remaining recordings on this date are also rightfully regarded as classics -- check the individual reviews of these titles: The Clown
, recorded in 1957, Blues and Roots
recorded in 1959, and Oh Yeah
, recorded in 1962, which featured Mingus on piano and vocals on numerous tunes, and offers up some of his most memorable material. It was cut when he briefly returned to label after cutting a number of stellar albums with Columbia, Mercury, and RCA. The final album in this set, Tonight at Noon
is a near classic; it's compiled from two different recording sessions, in 1957 and 1961. Despite the disparity of time, the music is absolutely top shelf. Given the price of this set, and that these are the same remasters that Warner offered up individually in the United States at the beginning of the 21st century, this box is an absolute steal.