Mingus is Joni Mitchells 1978 album inspired and dedicated to the greatest bass player in the story of jazz.
Happy Birthday 1975 (RAP) (0:57)
God Must be a Boogie Man (4:33)
Funeral (RAP) (1:07)
A Chair in the Sky (6:40)
The Wolf that Lives in Lindsey (6:33)
I's a Muggin' (RAP) (0:07)
Sweet Sucker Dance (8:06)
Coin in the Pocket (RAP) (0:11)
The Dry Cleaner from Des Moines (3:22)
Lucky (RAP) (0:03)
Goodbye Pork Pie Hat (5:41)
Joni Mitchell (guitar, vocals)
Wayne Shorter (soprano saxophone)
Herbie Hancock (electric piano)
Jaco Pastorius (bass, horn arrangement)
Peter Erskine (drums)
Don Alias (congas)
Emil Richards (percussion)
Joni Mitchell's most amazing album is the famous MINGUS.
A tribute to the legendary jazz bassist Charles Mingus, the album is formed on the combination of Joni's sultry, sweet vocals and modern jazz musicians.
Mitchell's voice is well suited to the moody jazz melody of Mingus'music, style, and feeling. Jaco Pastorius' bass weaves its way and Plonks and plumbs the depths as Joni's melancholy ´vocals smother you and tear off the blankets at the same time.
The album finale is the beautiful ballad "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat," on which Mitchell delivers one of the most heartfelt vocals i have ever heard from her.
To complete the album, snippets of conversations with Mingus are inserted between tracks to draw the album into a cohesive whole.
The art work on the record consists of three paintings by Mitchell of Mingus.
I got word through a friend of a friend that Charles had something in mind for me to do, and this came down the grapevine to me. Apparently he had tried through normal channels to get hold of me; but there's a very strong filtering system here and for one reason or another it never reached me. So it came in this circular way, and I called him up to see what it was about, and at that time he had an idea to make a piece of music based on T.S. Eliot's Quartet and he wanted to do it with - this is how he described it - a full orchestra playing one kind of music, and overlaid on that would be bass and guitar playing another kind of music; over that there was to be a reader reading excerpts from Quartet in a very formal literary voice; and interspersed with that he wanted me to distill T.S. Eliot down into street language, and sing it mixed in with the reader.
It was an interesting idea; I like textures. I think of music in a textural collage wag myself (sic), so it fascinated me. I bought the book that contained the Quartet and read it; and I felt it was like turning a symphony into a tune. I could see the essence of what he was saying, but his expansion was like expanding a theme in the classical symphonic sense, and I just felt I couldn't do it. So I called Charles back and told him I couldn't do it, it seemed kind of like a sacrilege.
So some time went by and I got another call from him saying that he'd written six songs for me and he wanted me to sing them and write the words for them. That was April of last year (1977), and I went out to visit him and I liked him immediately, and he was devilishly challenging.
He played me one piece of music - an older piece, I don't know the title of it— because we figured it was going to take eight songs to make an album: the six new ones and two old ones. So we began searching through this material, and he said, "This one has five different melodies," and I said, "And you want me to write five different sets of lyrics at once," and he said "Yes."
He put it on and it was the fastest, boogieingest thing I'd ever heard, and it was impossible. So this was like a joke on me. He was testing and teasing me; but it was in good fun. I enjoyed the time I spent with him very much.
- Joni Mitchell on meeting Mingus (taken from a much longer interview at: http://www.jmdl.com/articles/docs/790906db.cfm)