USA, 1963, hard bop

Duke Ellington / Charlie Mingus / Max RoachMoney Jungle

As of now, I’m familiar only with Ellington’s 50s swing and big band works, so this is a welcome change, since it displays avant-garde leanings. Mingus’ solo bass playing is the last thing I expected to open an album penned almost entirely by Ellington, the man on the keys. This recording flows so nicely, the chemistry among the trio effortless, ego-less, even (despite the argument and walkout). A perfect example of the separation of the art and the artist: the music is superb despite rumors of interpersonal conflict in the studio, or maybe precisely because of the tension. The flashes of discordance are just what jazz needs to keep it interesting. The music feels like jazz anthropomorphized going about its day in a montage of moments of business and calm, of war and peace.

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