hello folks! this week for the weekly review, we’re checking out the 1959 record from jazz musician Charles Mingus: Mingus Ah Um. let’s dig in!

Better Get Hit In Your Soul is our opening track here, and it spends almost no time ramping up to some phenomenal brass work, right out the gate. we got brass coming from every angle on this track and it is a DELIGHT. drums and piano are doing a great job on support, but i really enjoy how varied the horns are. great start. Goodbye Pork Pie Hat is a mellower song – really giving a bit of space to have the different players in the band pop in but still giving that sax all the preference. Boogie Stop Shuffle kicks ass. really love this song. Self-Portrait in Three Colors is a more somber track – not a ton to say about it. Open Letter To Duke is a more pensive track – quieter, but no less active. very fun. Bird Calls opens with some fun sax bits that sound like, well, bird calls. love the up-tempo energy here, it’s a treat. Fables of Faubus allegedly originally had lyrics to it, and while i dont feel like its missing something i do see how you could nestle lyrics into the loungier vibes here. Pussy Cat Dues is nice, though i do kinda just vibe along with it. Jelly Roll closes out what was the original tracklist, and this one’s also nice. kinda charming and cute. Pedal Point Blues was the first of the tracks added upon re-releases of this record – not a ton to say here either, unfortunately, other than there’s movements here that are like, buttery smooth back in that lounge space, and those sections are great. GG Train’s great – i really like the ways the mellower piano interact with the consistently active drums and the frantic sax. Girl of My Dreams is an aight closer – feels like an older celebration song, haha.

faves – Better Get Hit In Your Soul, Boogie Stop Shuffle, GG Train
dislikes –

after several listens i looked into what wikipedia had to say about this record, and it pointed out a lot of the references to other musicians and styles that i hadn’t caught, which is always neat! some of them i’d suspected, like Open Letter to Duke is pretty obvious, but still neat to hear about some of the others, like Goodbye Pork Pie Hat being a tribute to saxophonist Lester Young. it’s also neat hearing the full album, as the original release had a shorter tracklist and several of the songs were trimmed by the label, both for aesthetic and practical reasons.

on the whole, i had a really good time! i’m not super experienced listening to jazz, and this was just a blast hearing some phenomenal performances and some really deep compositions. very nice!

Mingus Ah Um – 7/10

for the next Weekly Album Review, i’ll be checking out Peter Gabriel’s So. i’ll be back next Friday, September 1st with that review and to pick another weekly record, and in the meantime, let me know what album you’d like me to review! (i pool all suggestions in one place, and draw a person, then one pick from that person, so feel free to drop as many as you’d like! if you leave an email or username i’ll contact you when i’ve gotten through all your suggestions.)