Charles Mingus – Me Myself an Eye

More Charles Mingus

More Me Myself an Eye

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

If you hear something that sounds like Frank Zappa’s music circa Waka Jawaka don’t be surprised, we heard it too. Mingus and Zappa were both eccentric geniuses so it only makes sense that they arrived at some of the same musical ideas as they evolved as composers. 

Side one is big, rich, Tubey Magical and natural. The saxophone that solos is front and center and lively. Above all the music works on this side.

Side two is especially rich and tubey. It will sound thick and dark unless you get the volume up to the level it wants to be for the mix to work (which simply means that the album was balanced at louder levels to sound correct at louder levels). A little more top end extension would be nice but the music sounds right on the copy the way it is.


“In other words, I am three,” begins Charles Mingus’s autobiography, referring to his different incarnations — the vulnerable man, the angry and passionate man, the observer. He could have said thirty-three, or three times thirty-three — he seemed to have had infinite sides to his personality, all of them speaking inside his head and throughout his compositions, creating one of the most powerful, personal and original voices in American music.

And yet he was attached to three — one of his loveliest ballads is called Self-Portrait In Three Colors. His final album, mistitled Me, Myself And I was corrected to read: Me, Myself, An Eye, after Mingus impatiently responded from his last residence in Mexico that the company didn’t understand a thing. Me, Myself, an EYE, he said. “The eye of god. The eye of the beholder.”

Charles Mingus official website

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Three Worlds of Drums

Side Two

Devil Woman
Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting
Caroline Keikki Mingus

AMG Review

Charles Mingus did not perform on the final sessions he made for Atlantic toward the end of his life. Too ill with ALS to pick up his bass, he nonetheless was a powerful presence in the studio. The arrangements and orchestrations were realized by trumpeter Jack Walrath based on Mingus’s tapes and piano sketches. The huge band can get a bit unwieldy, and the arrangements, which feature a solo from Larry Coryell, do tend to pander a bit to the fusion audience. In spite of these drawbacks, the half-hour “Three Worlds of Drums” is great, overdone though it may be.

Background

“In other words, I am three,” begins Charles Mingus’s autobiography, referring to his different incarnations — the vulnerable man, the angry and passionate man, the observer. He could have said thirty-three, or three times thirty-three — he seemed to have had infinite sides to his personality, all of them speaking inside his head and throughout his compositions, creating one of the most powerful, personal and original voices in American music.

And yet he was attached to three — one of his loveliest ballads is called Self-Portrait In Three Colors. His final album, mistitled Me, Myself And I was corrected to read: Me, Myself, An Eye, after Mingus impatiently responded from his last residence in Mexico that the company didn’t understand a thing. Me, Myself, an EYE, he said. “The eye of god. The eye of the beholder.”

Charles Mingus official website