Charles Mingus: Celia





East Coasting (Legacy DK37645)

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Charles Mingus (bass), Jimmy Knepper (trombone), Bill Evans (piano), Dannie Richmond (drums),

Clarence Shaw (trumpet)


Composed by Charles Mingus


Recorded: Cincinnati, OH; August 6, 1957


Rating: 86/100 (learn more)

Celia Zaentz was the second wife of Charles Mingus and co-founder, with her husband and Max Roach, of Debut Records, a pioneering artist-run independent label. Those are the facts; now onto the impressions: this lyrical portrait has a magical economy. Within half a minute, the listener is completely transported. Evans, who would join Miles Davis’ sextet less than a year later, plays the role of conjurer. He opens the tune with an almost generic swing riff. It sounds familiar, half-remembered, triggering nostalgia. Then he interrupts himself—or deepens the reverie—with shimmering chords that extend the measure, out of time, signaling the dreamy main theme for alto, trumpet and trombone.

Reviewer: Joe Petrucelli

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