Charles Mingus – Mingus Ah Um

In order to play records, you need a record player.  When I got the itch to start collecting records, I had neither records nor a record player.  Therefore, I enlisted a couple of friends from work, fellow oil and gas equity salesmen, who also played in bands for fun.  Both were major jazz enthusiasts; and I had very little knowledge of the genre at that time, circa 2008.  I was mainly listening to modern indie.  They helped me pick out my first turntable (Denon DP-300F*) and came to my condo in the warehouse district to help set me up.  These good blokes brought nothing but jazz records much to my chagrin.  Through their further generosity, they gave me my first Jazz vinyl, Miles Davis, Kind of Blue (we’ll discuss that one later!). More importantly, they gave me a list of 3 other Jazz records to purchase if I liked Miles.  I didn’t understand Kind of Blue upon first listen, but I was curious enough to purchase those 3 other records.  Mingus Ah Um was one of the 3, and it is now probably the record that I have played more than any other in my collection.

My mid to upper twenties were transitional times. A long term relationship had ended in my personal life, and I was growing much more focused on my professional goals and starting to get bored with the party scene.  I needed change.  Sometimes boredom can bring new beginnings.  I needed new sounds and new hobbies.  Jazz and cooking quickly became both for me. Symbiotic, sensual and both improvisational…exactly what I needed.  The first track is titled “Better Git It in Your Soul” and I cannot think of a better description.  When I heard this for the first time, it bore into me powerfully.  The hollers and the bellowing horns swing the track and suck you in.  It’s amazing how much ground Mingus covers on this album as band leader and bassist.  Blues, Gospel, Folk: it’s all here.  You don’t have to be a jazz technician or study musical theory to love this album or jazz.  Just let it in…and see how your body responds.  Obviously, my relationship with jazz and cooking remains to this day…now much to your chagrin.

Dead ends are temporary.  Stay curious, constantly curious and so many possibilities will open. 

Favorite Tracks: You gotta let it flow as one composition.

Pressing: Columbia 88697 33568 1. Legacy 88697 33568 1. 2008 RP 180g.
* The Denon sadly just went to the graveyard, May 2022. Rest in peace loyal friend.