Charles Mingus – Mingus Ah Um – Our Shootout Winner from 2008

More Charles Mingus

More Mingus Ah Um

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

This Columbia Six Eye pressing is THE BEST COPY OF THIS ALBUM WE’VE EVER HEARD! We were lucky enough to acquire a few clean copies over the last few months, and this was the best sounding of them all. It’s got that tubey magical late-’50s jazz sound: the brass is incredibly full-bodied, the bottom end has real weight, and the overall sound is amazingly rich and warm. Clean early pressings of this album go for big bucks in stores and on eBay these days with no guarantee whatsover of good sound. This one isn’t cheap either but at least you know that it’s going to sound wonderful.

Side one of this copy sounds SUPERB. The brass has a nice bite, the top end is silky and airy, and the bass has lots of punch. The overall sound is open, spacious, and super transparent. I don’t think there’s anything you could do to this music to make it sound any better than this!

Side two is lively, energetic, and tonally correct from top to bottom. It doesn’t have quite the level of transparency you’ll hear on side one, but it’s still a big step up from most of the copies we heard.

The vinyl plays pretty darn quietly — mostly Mint Minus throughout, with just a bit of surface noise between tracks. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how difficult it is to find a Six Eye pressing that plays this quietly and sounds this amazing!

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Better Get It in Yo’ Soul 
Goodbye Pork Pie Hat 
Boogie Stop Shuffle 
Self-Portrait in Three Colors
Open Letter to Duke

Side Two

Bird Calls 
Fables of Faubus 
Pussy Cat Dues 
Jelly Roll

AMG 5 Star Rave Review!

Charles Mingus’ debut for Columbia, Mingus Ah Um is a stunning summation of the bassist’s talents and probably the best reference point for beginners. While there’s also a strong case for The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady as his best work overall, it lacks Ah Um’s immediate acccessibility and brilliantly sculpted individual tunes… It simply isn’t possible to single out one Mingus album as definitive, but Mingus Ah Um comes the closest.