Bassist / composer Charles Mingus is one of the most
radical figures in American music. Throughout the '50s, he
worked as a sideman with legendary players Charlie Parker,
Dizzy Gillespie and more. In the '60s, he gained recognition
as a bandleader, often followed by controversy for
making strong-minded statements in the press about race,
politics and stodgy music critics. While Mingus received
many honors posthumously as well as during his career,
perhaps his greatest achievement was transcending the restrictive
label of jazz.
Mingus Plays Piano, released just a few months after his
masterpiece The Black Saint and The Sinner Lady, is the
only record to feature Mingus performing on his instrument
of choice for composing. From the opening track,
appropriately titled "Myself When I Am Real," Mingus
shrugs off any virtuosic pretensions of solo albums and
stakes out more introspective territory. These trance-like,
poetic musings reveal a tenderness rarely associated with
Mingus, reminiscent of Erik Satie's piano works and Art
Tatum's free rhythmic style.
This long out-of-print vinyl release has been carefully
remastered from the original master tapes.