1001 Other Albums – 9 – The Charlie Mingus Jazz Workshop ‎– Pithecanthropus Erectus

This early Atlantic session in 1955 was one of the first of the bassist-composer’s workshop styled programmes. He felt that written music could not convey the true music of the composer as musicians would put their own invention on it. His method was to play each individual part to each musician on piano so that they fully understood the composer’s intention and would play it the way he “heard” it.

The title song was described by Mingus as a ten-minute tone poem, depicting the rise of man from his hominid roots (Pithecanthropus erectus) to an eventual downfall. A section of the piece was free improvisation, free of structure or theme.

I know that to many, Jazz is sometimes just noise but these recordings bridge the gap in some ways. There are random noises within the compositions but there is always a melody and Mingus tends to stick to chord structures.

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