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Profiles of Mingus

Artist: Chris Biscoe

Date of Release: 21/05/2010

Catalogue no: TR585

Label: Trio Records

Price: £11.50

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Track Listing

No

 

Title

Duration

1

 

Fables of Faubus - take 3

2.36

2

 

Duke's Choice

3.48

3

 

Boogie Stop Shuffle

6.13

4

 

Goodbye Pork Pie Hat

5.55

5

 

PSPPH

2.28

6

 

J-Yarde

2.26

7

 

Reincarnation of a Lovebird

10.09

8

 

Self Portrait in Three Colours

6.11

9

 

Martha and Daughter

1.54

10

 

All The Things You Could Be By Now If Sigmund Freud's Wife Was Your Mother

3.12

11

 

Pussy Cat Dues

7.30

12

 

Blue Cee

8.10

13

 

Fables of Faubus - take 2

2.36

14

 

Bass Notes

2.04

 

 

 

 

Appearances by

Dave Green, Henry Lowther, Kate Williams, Larry Bartley, Paul Clarvis, Stu Butterfield

Sound samples: http://tinyurl.com/profilesofmingus

On this recording there are several different line-ups: solo improvisations, the quartet A Pair of Braces, which derives from occasional meetings of two duos - Lowther/Clarvis and Biscoe/Butterfield, and, principally, Mingus Moves.

Chris Biscoe: alto & tenor sax, alto clarinet
Henry Lowther: trumpet & flugelhorn
Larry Bartley: double bass
Stu Butterfield: drums
Kate Williams: piano
Trevor Mires: trombone
Pete Hurt: tenor sax
with
Paul Clarvis: drums (tracks 1,10,13)
Dave Green: solo double bass (track 14)

 

Reviews

 

21/05/2010 John Fordham, Guardian

Saxophonist and clarinetist Chris Biscoe has been on the British scene for a long time, but he's made the territory between postbop and free-jazz entirely his own, and his sophisticated tributes to the jazz giants are always distinctive. This varied set offers 10 reappraisals of compositions by Charles Mingus, plus originals by Biscoe, pianist Kate Williams and guest bassist Dave Green (Larry Bartley assumes all the other bass duties). The classic Fables of Faubus unfolds in growls and smears from Biscoe and trumpeter Henry Lowther over the full-on drum tattoos of Stu Butterfield and Paul Clarvis, and Lowther's shining long notes hold the harmonies under the leader's soaring alto sax on the sighing Duke's Choice. Williams has a gleaming solo meditation, and Biscoe an unaccompanied alto feature deploying his arsenal of bent tones, slithering runs and bluesy multiphonics, but through it all he maintains a rootsy quality that fits the set. The album's almost worth it for Boogie Stop Shuffle alone, one of Mingus's most deviously funky themes; but tenor saxophonist Pete Hurt is a powerful presence, and just reading the Mingus title All the Things You Could Be By Now If Sigmund Freud's Wife Was Your Mother has a pretty compelling appeal as well.

 

17/05/2010 Chris Parker, Vortex Website


Like his recent Trio album dedicated to the music of Eric Dolphy (Gone in the Air ­ see CD Reviews), this fourteen-track album inspired by another 20th-century jazz great, Charles Mingus, is clearly a labour of love for saxophonist Chris Biscoe.

Mingus Moves, a sextet formed in 1996, is at the heart of this recording, three of its its founder members (Biscoe, trumpeter Henry Lowther and drummer Stu Butterfield) still on board here, but augmented in various combinations by bassist Larry Bartley, pianist Kate Williams, trombonist Trevor Mires, tenor player Pete Hurt and guests Paul Clarvis and bassist Dave Green (who is heard solely on a solo meditation on Mingus, 'Bass Notes').

Biscoe says in his notes that Mingus Ah Um is still his favourite Charles Mingus album, and accordingly, 'Fables of Faubus', 'Boogie Stop Shuffle', 'Goodbye Pork Pie Hat', 'Pussy Cat Dues', 'Self-Portrait in Three Colors' and 'Duke's Choice' all appear here, in Biscoe arrangements that he describes thus: 'Some of the band tracks use arrangements and solo sequences that are similar to the original performances, although changes in instrumentation and interpretation make them sound quite different.'

The haunting threnody for Lester Young, 'Goodbye Pork Pie Hat', for instance, begins with unaccompanied tenors before Bartley's 'improvised counter-line', then features a 'changes' solo by Pete Hurt and a minor blues solo by Biscoe; 'Pussy Cat Dues' contains a three-part solo sequence written by Biscoe; 'Boogie Stop Shuffle' has overdubbed alto clarinet etc.

More importantly, however, both the Mingus compositions and the odd Biscoe original inspired by the great bassist/composer positively drip with Mingus's great musical strengths: an infectious, often downright brawling robustness that infuses not only the naggingly memorable themes but also spills over into the freewheeling solos to which they give rise; a faith in the music's basics (chiefly the blues, but also the sparky, interactive spontaneity of traditional jazz and rumbustious swing of big-band music) that grounds even the most sophisticated Mingus composition; the easy, fluid, natural movement between sharp ensemble work and solo eccentricity.

With its soloists skilfully deployed for maximum effect (the contrast between the saxophone styles of Biscoe himself and Hurt particularly telling) and each piece addressed with suitable passion laced with intelligence and respect, Profiles of Mingus comes highly recommended.

 

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