USA, 1957, post-bop

Charles MingusThe Clown: I love the dynamism of this one, especially how different the tracks sound from one another. The first track is all over the place–in a good way–throwing everything into the pot. Some full-on avant-garde swells punctuated by brilliant use of sonic emptiness with only the upright bass playing around. Then we move on to something more conventional and standard in tempo, giving us a mental break. Great artists know how to follow the avant with convention. The almost doppler-effect of the horns on “Blue Cee” is fun…guess Mingus had to throw just a tiny bit of experimentation into this one, too. On to track 3: the flapping of a bird’s wings is not some romantic motion–soaring, maybe, but not flapping. To get to the point of soaring, you have to flap your wings wildly (which is what I imagine in the piano). The horns soar. The spoken word finale is a perfect end to this album. Carnivalesque, discordant. Dubuque is the perfect place for this ill-fated clown.

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