Daily Dose: ‘Moanin” by Charles Mingus

We round out impromptu “Jazz week” with another classic, this time one that I had the joy of experiencing performed live a bunch of times whilst I was at university. Even if you don’t like the famous farty baritone sax tune (and how could you not), you’ve got to accept that the whole tune is a seriously groovy mover and shaker, from front to back. The variety of solos are all wonderful, all expertly accompanied by the wonderful bass technique of Mr. Mingus himself. By all accounts, he was an interesting dude: famously angry, occasionally violent, often obese, adamant not to compromise his music integrity – the “The Angry Man of Jazz” must have been a formidable sight indeed. His undoubtable genius left us with a bunch of classic jazz standards, such as this one, which is at its core simply music of a real high quality. It’s a good counterpoint to yesterday’s track, being much more intense and involved, with those speedy bebop influences being placed on full display. The album it was from, Blues & Roots (released 1960) presents a somewhat misleading picture of the song, implying it’s perhaps a sombre, slow affair, which could not be further from the truth – it swings, it bounces, it’s soulful and funky (my preferred version to listen to is an over nine minutes live version). It’s kind of tough to know what else to say about it, really: how does one comment upon a master? It’s just a big old slice of mad, fantastic fun, and while I understand that it might well not be everyone’s cup of tea, if you like both well put together music and having a good time, this should do you no wrong. That’s enough of the jazzy inspired goodness for a while, the weekend may bring us some newly released metal and perhaps a cover.


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