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Jazz Icons: Charles Mingus Live in '64
Jazz Icons Charles Mingus Live in '64
Actors: Jaki Byard, Eric Dolphy, Dannie Richmond, Charles Mingus, Clifford Jordan
Genres: Music Video & Concerts
NR     2007     2hr 0min

Jazz Icons: Charles Mingus showcases three exceptional concerts performed in April 1964 featuring his most celebrated lineup--Jaki Byard (piano), Dannie Richmond (drums), Johnny Coles (trumpet), Clifford Jordan (tenor sax)...  more »

     
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Movie Details

Actors: Jaki Byard, Eric Dolphy, Dannie Richmond, Charles Mingus, Clifford Jordan
Genres: Music Video & Concerts
Sub-Genres: Pop, Mingus, Charles, Jazz
Studio: Jazz Icons
Format: DVD - Black and White - Best of
DVD Release Date: 09/04/2007
Original Release Date: 01/01/2007
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2007
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 2hr 0min
Screens: Black and White
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 5
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

One of My Favorite Jazz Icons
David Conklin | Albuquerque, NM USA | 04/22/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"If you've ever been intrigued by the music of Charles Mingus, one of the greatest composers and innovators in the history of jazz, you owe it to yourself to get this DVD. I've already watched it 3 times, and will be enjoying it (and others in this Naxos series) for years to come. The footage, all from Mingus's European tour of 1964, includes a live concert and other performances made for European television. The three venues (Belgium, Norway, and Sweden) were filmed within a one week period. The camera work is quite good, and the quality of the film is certainly OK for its time. You get plenty for your money: the DVD is a full two hours long, much longer than most others in this series.

This group was arguably Mingus's best line-up ever, and the tour was easily one of the high-points in the great bassist's long and productive career. It's a real pleasure to watch this charismatic leader play and interact with his fellow musicians; he was clearly having fun and receiving satisfaction from what this remarkable band was producing. There's plenty of footage of the great Eric Dolphy--much more than on the John Coltrane Jazz Icons DVD. Clifford Jordan, Johnny Coles, Jaki Byard, and Dannie Richmond all play well and are fun to watch. One thing that seems especially notable about this group (besides the collection of talent) is that everyone has a somewhat different style, yet the conglomeration results in some of the most interesting (and complex) jazz music every created by a small group.

Although one might wish for a greater variety of compositions (there are a total of 6), the DVD apparently does include most of the songs the group was playing on this tour. There are 4 different versions of "So Long Eric" and 3 of "Meditations on Integration," but these are performed quite differently and it's interesting to hear the varied arrangements and improvising from venue to venue. In summary: Exhilarating !"
Collective improvisation at its finest
Dean R. Brierly | Studio City, CA | 09/30/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

""Charles Mingus: Live in '64" is one of the strongest entries yet in Naxos' superb Jazz Icons DVD collection. The series features historical concert footage recorded by far-sighted European television stations of some of the biggest names in jazz history. Mingus--certainly one of the four or five most important jazz creators--is captured during his 1964 concert tour in Belgium, Norway and Sweden working with what was arguably his greatest band ever. Multi-reedman Eric Dolphy, tenor saxophonist Clifford Jordan, trumpeter Johnny Coles, pianist Jaki Byard and drummer Dannie Richmond were intuitive and brilliant interpreters of Mingus' unique music, which synthesized blues, gospel, bop, New Orleans traditional and early '60s modernism. (Next to Mingus, Dolphy was the most important artist in this band, as well as the most adventurous, able to adapt to mainstream musical surroundings while seamlessly exploring his own radical directions.) Each musician was also flexible enough to meet the unique demands of their mercurial and unpredictable bandleader. Mingus preferred to communicate his compositions verbally rather than write them down, frequently changed their structure, tempo and duration (often during a performance), and granted a large measure of creative latitude to his band members in bringing his music to life. This approach contributed to the exhilarating, spontaneous quality of his concerts and recordings, and helped ensure that no two versions of the same tune ended up sounding quite the same. In fact, two of Mingus' seminal compositions--"So Long, Eric" and "Meditations on Integration"--are played multiple times on this DVD, yet each performance emerges as a distinct and original incarnation. Needless to say, Mingus and his band are in peak form throughout all three concerts, demonstrating a sustained level of emotion and improvisation that almost defies description. Equally fascinating is the rehearsal footage captured prior to the Stockholm concert, which shows Mingus shaping the overall contours of each tune while leaving plenty of room for creative interpretation. An added bonus is watching the musicians interact with one another as well as respond to Mingus' instructions. This is musical history in the making, a revelatory visual and audio document essential for anyone interested in the development of American's greatest indigenous art form. Amen."
To see it is to feel improvisation at work before your eyes
Ian Muldoon | Coffs Harbour, NSW Australia | 09/20/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Why bother with a DVD of Mingus from the sixties, in black and white? Especially when you have the best of his recorded legacy and have heard it a hundred times? A couple of reasons - firstly, Mr Mingus was a composer, conductor and musician of outstanding excellence whose working methods are best revealed visually at the moment of creation. Of many improvising artists, he is one of the most active and passionate in his methods exhorting, listening deeply, using eyes, hands and body to guide, and providing a model of powerful leadership.
The viewer is witness to a creative process which he sees evolving before his eyes and feels drawn in to it. The gap between performers and viewer seems small indeed. Secondly, those in his band, like those in the various bands of Duke Ellington, are all masters on their respective instrument, and to be a visual and aural witness to their interactions with Mr Mingus is in itself a lesson in musicianship. Mr Byard is a revelation. One small, observation: Mr Mingus appears to have feet as large as another great American, Michael Phelps!"