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Weird Nightmare: Meditations on Mingus
     

Weird Nightmare: Meditations on Mingus

 
Producer Hal Willner had created a reputation as a fascinating instigator, organizing homages to composers as diverse as Nino Rota and Thelonious Monk wherein he conscripted the services of musicians from all over the stylistic map, allowing them to bring their unique

Overview

Producer Hal Willner had created a reputation as a fascinating instigator, organizing homages to composers as diverse as Nino Rota and Thelonious Monk wherein he conscripted the services of musicians from all over the stylistic map, allowing them to bring their unique interpretations and approaches to bear on the subjects. For his Charles Mingus project, his central idea was as inspired as it was loony: to incorporate the amazing instruments invented and designed by another equally maverick composer, Harry Partch, into reinterpretations of Mingus' work. By and large, it works, making Weird Nightmare a strange and wonderful one-off event. There's a central band at work based around bassist Greg Cohen and guitarist Bill Frisell, with guest stars, mostly from the rock world, including Robbie Robertson, Dr. John, Keith Richards, and Chuck D Highlights abound; when Partch's Marimba Eroica is struck during "Pithecanthropus Erectus," the floors of the listener's dwelling may buckle. Elvis Costello's reading of the title song is, well, eerily weird. One special high point is the version of "Gunslinging Bird" where text from Mingus' autobiographical Beneath the Underdog is angrily and righteously declaimed by Chuck D.; it's arguably as pure and forceful as anything he ever accomplished with Public Enemy and makes one wonder why he never pursued this seemingly rewarding path. There are several missteps as well, to be sure. Most egregiously, Keith Richards' sneering condescension on "Oh Lord, Don't Let Them Drop That Atomic Bomb on Me," as though he had better things to do, is embarrassing. But eventually, it's simply the gorgeous music of Charles Mingus that carries the day, showing itself more than capable of shouldering the ghost of Harry Partch and the wayward inclinations of its interpreters. Most of the pieces glow in these unusual treatments, and make Weird Nightmare a must for any serious Mingus fan.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/29/1992
Label:
Sony
UPC:
0074645273921
catalogNumber:
52739

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Tony Trischka   Banjo
Leonard Cohen   Voices,Track Performer
Elvis Costello   Vocals,Track Performer,Harmonic Canon
Dr. John   Vocals,Voices,Track Performer,Spoken Word
Diamanda Galás   Vocals,Track Performer
Robert Quine   Guitar,Keyboards,Sampling,Sampled Keyboards
Robbie Robertson   Vocals,Voices,Track Performer
Henry Rollins   Voices,Track Performer
Geri Allen   Piano,Chromelodeon
Don Byron   Clarinet,Bass Clarinet,Marimbas,Track Performer
Marc Ribot   Banjo,Marimbas
Bob Stewart   Tuba
Charlie Watts   Drums,Track Performer
Gary Lucas   Guitar,Electric Guitar,Steel Guitar,Slide Guitar
Barry Mitterhoff   Guitar,Mandolin
Ray Davies   Humming
Don Alias   Dumbek,Percussion,Conga,Cymbals,Marimbas,Timbales,Bata,Hand Clapping,cowbell,Hand Drums
Sue Evans   Percussion,Washboard,Spoons
Art Baron   Flute,Percussion,Trombone,Tuba,Recorder,Wood Flute,Didjeridu,Bass Recorder,Muted Trombone,Cloud Chamber Bowls,Harmonic Canon
Michael Blair   Percussion,Conga,Drums,Gong,Marimbas,Chinese Drums,Cloud Chamber Bowls
Chuck D   Track Performer
Crispin Cioe   Alto Saxophone,Baritone Saxophone
Greg Cohen   Bass,Guitar,Percussion,Gong,Cloud Chamber Bowls
Kenny Kosek   Violin
Bill Frisell   Guitar,Percussion,Electric Guitar,Track Performer
Bernard Fowler   Vocals
Bob Funk   Trombone
Bobby Keys   Tenor Saxophone
Chuck Leavell   Piano
Howard Levy   Harmonica
Bobby Previte   Castanets,Conductor,Kazoo,Spoons,Track Performer
Vernon Reid   Guitar,Track Performer
Keith Richards   Guitar,Vocals,Track Performer
Henry Threadgill   Flute,Track Performer
Francis Thumm   Percussion,Harmonium,Marimbas,Background Vocals,Humming,Chromelodeon,Cloud Chamber Bowls,Harmonic Canon
Uptown Horns   Horn,Ensemble
Hal Willner   Percussion,Sampling
Barry Mitterjoff   Guitar,Mandolin
Hubert Selby   Vocals,Voices
Arno Hecht   Tenor Saxophone
Paul Litterall   Trumpet

Technical Credits

Robbie Robertson   Engineer
Geri Allen   Contributor
Charles Mingus   Composer
Bill Gable   Producer,Engineer
Art Baron   Arranger,Bass Programming
Michael Blair   Arranger
Greg Cohen   Arranger,Contributor
Joe Ferla   Engineer
Bill Frisell   Arranger
Sue Mingus   Liner Notes
Bobby Previte   Arranger
Nick Prout   Producer,Engineer
Vernon Reid   Arranger
Jeff Rosen   Liner Notes
Henry Threadgill   Arranger
Francis Thumm   Contributor,Liner Notes
Uptown Horns   Arranger,Horn Arrangements
Hal Willner   Sound Effects,Producer,Engineer,Liner Notes
Kirk Yano   Engineer
Bill Flanagan   Liner Notes

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