A Modern Jazz Symposium of Music and Poetry

Artist: Charles Mingus

Year: 1957

Genre: Post-Bop

Grade: B+

The 11-minute opener, entitled “Scenes in the City,” is the clear highlight of Charles Mingus’ fourth LP of 1957. Featuring the spoken-word narration of Mel Stewart, the freewheeling track moves through a variety of moods, following a similar blueprint to “The Clown.” It’s the only song on the album to live up to the title — A Modern Jazz Symposium of Music and Poetry.

The remaining six tracks assure that this is only a minor release in Mingus’ extensive catalogue. However, any fan of Mingus would do right to hear relative obscurities like “Nouroog” and “Slippers.” The playing, as usual, is stellar.

 

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