Mingus, Charles - Cornell 1964 : 2 x CDs
So, what are the truly legendary groups in jazz? Probably less than a dozen: Duke Ellington's Orchestra, The Hot Five with Louis Armstrong, The Charlie Parker/Dizzy Gillespie Quintet, Ornette Coleman's original quartet, the John Coltrane Quartet, etc. etc. etc. And also, this group; the sextet that the great American composer and bassist Charles Mingus assembled to play a one month tour of Europe, which never recorded in the studio at all, but which has gained their legendary status due to the relatively large number of high quality recordings that document this tour and this band, consisting of Charles, Eric Dolphy, Johnny Coles, Clifford Jordan, Jaki Byard and Dannie Richmond. This previously unknown, extremely high quality, mono recording (perhaps made for broadcast, although the notes don't say) was recorded at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY on March 18, 1964, and predates by 3 weeks the only previously known appearance the band made in the USA (released as the the justly famous Town Hall Concert) and is thus the earliest recording by this band. Over two hours long, this includes long versions of some of Mingus' standard repertoire at the time, as well as some surprises (Jitterbug Waltz? When Irish Eyes are Smiling??). If you are a fan, this is essential, and if you are a novice to this band, this is an excellent place to start.