Charles Mingus: Los Mariachis
Charles Mingus (bass)
Tijuana Moods (BMG/Bluebird 9026-63840-2)
Clarence Shaw (trumpet), Curtis Porter (alto sax), Bill Triglia (piano).
Composed by Charles Mingus.
Recorded: New York, NY; July 18, 1957
Rating: 83/100 (learn more)
Inspired by street musicians in Tijuana, “Los Mariachis” employs a suite-like structure that simulates a walking tour; around every corner, the listener encounters another style, rhythm, or theme. The writing is conceptual, and the contrasts are sharp: for every exuberant and celebratory melody, there is a pensive and mournful counterpart. As the piece evolves, the soloists—Shaw, Knepper, Porter, then Triglia—draw from a growing memory bank of impressions and moods. Their nuanced improvisations aim to integrate the breezy bop and loping blues, buoyant calypso and poignant ballad; but the overall effect is stilted in comparison with Mingus’ subtler multipart miniatures, like “Open Letter To Duke.”
Reviewer: Joe Petrucelli