Charles Mingus: I Can't Get Started


I Can't Get Started



Jazz Portraits—Mingus In Wonderland (Blue Note CDP 27325)

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Charles Mingus (bass), John Handy (alto sax), Richard Wyands (piano), Dannie Richmond (drums), Booker Ervin (tenor sax).

Composed by Vernon Duke and Ira Gershwin


Rating: 93/100 (learn more)

A definitive version of a favorite Mingus standard (and staple of his live repertoire), captured in performance at the Nonagon Art Gallery in Manhattan’s East Village. Explaining his affinity for the tune, Mingus told Nat Hentoff, “It applies to me.” His commanding solo, which begins after an abrupt tape edit, indicates that he knows and understands the material implicitly. John Handy, the other featured soloist, connects with it deeply, too. Their virtuoso flights and bravura suspensions reflect the lyric’s ironic complaint. They come on strong, effuse, emote, make strong cases, and maybe even overthink it. It’s not for lack of effort—or aesthetic achievement—that they can’t get started.

Reviewer: Joe Petrucelli

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