The Jazz Show Episode February 8, 2010

Broadcast on 08-Feb-2010

9:03am - 12:05pm

Charles Mingus' "Tijuana Moods" is one of his acknowledged classics. It was recorded in July and August 1957 by one of his best "Jazz Workshops". Mingus called all of his bands "The Jazz Workshop". Strangely it was not released until 1962 on RCA Victor and Mingus called it "the best record I ever made". The original LP was full of rather ham-fisted edits but the music was so strong that we lived with them and simply ignored them. When the digital revolution happened and a creative producer named Ed Michael went into the RCA archives and discovered that Tijuana Moods had many alternate and almost complete takes. Michael put together an "alternate" version of the five tunes that made up the original album basically maintaining the structure and syntax of the tunes. This happened in 1985, six years after Mingus' death. Mingus, I think would have been pleased with the alternate results and the edits are seamless due to the digital process.
The music represents a trip that Mingus and drummer Dannie Richmond took to that border town after Mingus' wife told Charles she wanted a divorce. The band is one of Mingus' finest editions of The Jazz Workshop and the people involved are Clarence "Gene" Shaw on trumpet, Shafi Hadi (aka Curtis Porter) alto (mostly) and tenor saxophone, Jimmy Knepper on trombone, Bill Triglia on piano, Dannie Richmond on drums and of course Mingus on bass. Some effects are provided by Ysabel Morel on wordless vocal and Frankie Dunlop on castanets. There are five tunes, the first four are by Mingus and the album ends quietly with a beautiful rendition of the old standard "Flamingo", featuring Shaw's trumpet. All in all this album ranks with Mingus' best and thanks to the good work of Ed Michael, we can hear "The Alternate Tijuana Moods".