Charles Mingus: Stormy Weather (1954)
Charles Mingus (bass)
Jazzical Moods (Fresh Sounds 62)
Jackson Wiley (cello), Clem DeRosa (drums).
Arranged by John LaPorta. Composed by Harold Arlen & Ted Koehler.
Recorded: New York, December, 1954
Rating: 86/100 (learn more)
Until the late 1940s, John LaPorta coulda been a contender. That's when he hooked up with Lennie Tristano. Talk about a one-way ticket to Palookaville! In 1954, LaPorta emerged from Tristano's training camp to spar with heavyweight Charles Mingus, then championing jazz Abstract Expressionism. LaPorta's modernistic arrangement of "Stormy Weather," featuring Thad Jones with eerie reverb and a lugubrious cello, undermines our expectations, using bitonality to create an illusion of suspended gravitation. This scheme, particularly applied to a familiar standard instead of an original composition, demonstrates how experimental New York jazzmen were half a decade before Ornette Coleman blew into town. Incidentally, the album title's "Jazzical" connoted jazz + classical two years before Gunther Schuller coined the artier Third Stream.
Reviewer: Alan Kurtz