The four LPs collected on this two-CD set represent arguably the very best of Mingus small-group recordings. First up in 1956 was Pithecanthropus Erectus with early, strong solo work by McLean and overall, a very progressive sound for the mid-50s. Mingus discovery Clarence Shaw distinguished himself with “Memories of You” on East Coasting and promptly disappeared from sight soon afterwards. The Clown had strong blues performances, notably “Haitian Fight Song” but the narrated title piece was a bit of a Mingus joke/indulgence. Tijuana Moods was claimed by Mingus as the favourite of all his recordings with its Spanish-flavoured music, castanets and wild rhythm. Shaw was still there for this one and he plays well, as does Knepper and there is plenty of virtuoso bass.
Mingus (b); Jackie McLean (as); J.R. Monterose (ts); Jimmy Knepper (tb); Danny Richmond (d) and others. 1956-1957.
Avid AMSC 1315