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New Tijuana Moods
New Tijuana Moods
Charles Mingus


(Charles Mingus-Dizzy Gillespie)

(Charles Mingus)

(Charles Mingus)

(Charles Mingus)

5. FLAMINGO  5:32
(E. Anderson-T. Grouya)

6. DIZZY MOODS (alternate take) 8:20
(Charles Mingus-Dizzy Gillespie)

7. TIJUANA GIFT SHOP (alternate take) 4:40
(Charles Mingus)

8. LOS MARIACHIS (alternate take) 12:28
(Charles Mingus)

9. FLAMINGO (alternate take) 6:40
(E. Anderson-T. Grouya)


CHARLES MINGUS - leader & bass
JIMMY KNEPPER - trombone
CURTIS PORTER (Shafi Hadi) - alto sax
BILL TRIGLlA - piano
FRANKIE DUNLOP - percussion
YSABEL MOREL - castanets

Executive Producer: Steve Backer
Reissue Producer: John Snyder
Reissue Engineer: Jay Newland

Originally recorded on July 18 and August 6, 1957
Produced by Bob Rolontz and engineered by Bob Simpson in RCA Victor's Studio A in New York City

Digitally remastered using 20-Bit Super Mapping

Series Producer: Steve Gates

Art Direction: Scott Johnson/J.J. Stelmach
Photography: Chuck Stewart

I believe this record includes performances by some of the greatest musicians I have ever worked with. There is one I would especially like to point out who by now would probably have become as famous as any of our current so-called iazz players if this record had been released six years ago when recorded. Not only does Clarence Shaw have a beautiful sound and beautiful ideas, but he is creative and original and plays like no other trumpet man with the exception that he bears a close relationship soul-wise to Freddie Webster.

No one, to my knowledge, knows Clarence's whereabouts, except that he is rumored to be teaching hypnotism. I have seen him only once since this recording session and recently tried to find him for my band. No luck.

One of the things I like about him is that he doesn't overcrowd his ideas like most improvisers. He is like a great conversationalist. He stops and rests (or, as I call it in conversation, thinks), preparing for his next idea or giving the rhythm section an opportunity to complement his statement. For instance, in a solo on Dizzy Moods, if you listen closely you can actually hear Clarence stop, take his horn from his mouth; release the vapor from his water key, and intentionally blow air through the horn to clean it and free his tone.

At first I thought he was being snobbish, trying to be funny, or putting the musicians on when he casually did this kind of thing. But after hearing him on this record session, I found that the effect of this sort of playing was wonderfully timed. Like a good conversationalist he knew when to shut up. He didn't "talk" too much or play too much. He breathed good and deep for his ideas. (I only wish I'd met him sooner to make him a regular member of my band.)

I would like to point out Clarence's solo in Flamingo.

Though he has only eight bars, these eight bars - because of their warmth, depth and mood - stay with me more than the melody and original mood of the piece or any other solo on the record - as though they were written and composed by one of the jazz masters.

All the music in this album was written during a very blue period in my life. I was minus a wife, and in flight to forget her with an expected dream in Tijuana. But not even Tijuana could satisfy - despite the bullfight, jai alai, anything that you could imagine in a wild, wide-open town. After finding myself with the sting of tequila, salt and lime in my mouth and burning my nostrils, I decided to benefit musically from this experience and set out to compose and re-create what I felt and saw around me. It included a striptease in one of the many local night clubs that are the principal Tijuana industry - "cash in hand from yankee man."

After arriving at six in the evening, I found myself wandering through the streets followed by local bands of five to ten musicians with bass, sax, guitar and typical Spanish instruments. Playing for tips, they followed the tourists around, looking at the person or persons, guessing or trying to guess the type of music that would appeal to them. For Danny Richmond and myself that night, it was everything from barrelhouse to a stiff attempt at the blues. All this you will find in Los Mariachis (translates "street musicians"), the piece that typifies the blues beat.

I walked from tacos to tacos, from tequila, salt and lime to all the hot chili peppers there were to stomach, throwing away all the money I had earned and more, trying to forget the blues that I had brought with me - and minus a wife. It actually ends in a contest between Danny and myself to see who could outdo who in Tijuana's tequila-wine-women-song-and-dance. Danny lost: he was very hungry; I was starved.

Expectations of Tijuana and all the things we heard before arriving and were going to experience for the first time were best expressed in the Dizzy Gillespie composition, Woody 'n' You, which I sketched out for our version called Dizzy Moods on the way there in the car. I have always found it easier to write from chord structure in buses and cars rather than from melody. I used Diz's tune and I think the melody speaks for itself. As far as solos, Clarence and Jimmy Knepper take care of that.

Ysabel's Table Dance sums up all we could buy in Tijuana. It includes the farout striptease - spots in the music played by the piano represent the scantily-clad woman spinning from table to table, reaching her hand out for tips, bills, or what-have-you. This composition, I believe, contains the fire, the pulse, and all that I felt as I heard the tune in my head with the movement of her body. It's the last piece; then I returned to my true self and it's all over but the music.

The playing of Flamingo, in somewhat the same manner that Ellington treated it in mood and chord structure, brings me back to the wild city in thought though I may be miles away.

Tijuana Gift Shop brings to mind the tapestry which I bid for and bought off the walls of an old "gift shop."

Ending my comments, I should not overlook Bill Triglia as a fresh piano stylist. And the genius of Danny Richmond who had only been with me a matter of weeks. This was probably the first time he changed from tenor sax to drums - playing on born intuition after a few conversations - with the two of us beating hands and feet, playing broken times and rhythms on the table; me showing and trying to explain to him what the world's greatest jazzmen do.



"Duke Ellington, Art Tatum, Charlie Parker and church, that's where my music comes from," Charles Mingus has said. He may add, "It also comes from the way the waiter spoke to me at dinner or something like that," but Mingus aims at something far less transient. He is a man out to make his jazz into a concert music.

Charles Mingus' jazz illustrates a truism: the way to extend a medium is to work faithfully with what is there and to extend it along lines implicit in its nature. Genuinely within jazz there have been precedents: Scott Joplin's late ragtime works, some of James P. Johnson's, Willie "the Lion" Smith's, and Duke Ellington's, probably deservedly the best-known efforts to produce a concert jazz.

Mingus uses improvisation, a strong rhythmic power, works with blues tonalities, vocal tone, spontaneity. His forms are not skillful moulds into which notes and devices are to be poured, but spring naturally and inevitably from emotional musical necessity, and sound like it. He will include, unassimilated, the shouts, cries and sounds that are the source of music. And he speaks openly and directly, never reassures us with things we might find easier to listen to.

I invite you to listen for two evidences of how soundly Mingus works. The first is the full texture he achieves with a small group with no feeling of contrivance. There has been nothing like this, I think, since the golden days of the New Orleans style. Even with one horn in solo, there is a denseness to the performance, a feeling of total movement that is never distracting, always integrated. The second is the naturalness with which shifts of dominant rhythm and of tempo usually happen without the feeling of a stilted effort at "effect." Almost everything comes because it enables the music and the musicians to say something they have to say.


Well-known jazz critic and editor of The Art of Jazz

More Tiiuana Moods? After all, didn't Mr. Mingus himself say. "This is the best record I ever made"? Haven't we - you and I - been listening to it with immense satisfaction since it first came out in 1962? Why fix it? It ain't broke ...

First of all, there's the question of the edits. Most of them are kind of brute-force, and none of them are particularly subtle, which is to say that your ears certainly tell you that there's an edit there. Then there's the lesson learned from the Columbia reissue called Better Git It in Your Soul, which restored materials previously missing - solos taken out to shorten tracks, structural elements that went for the same reasons - to tunes released in truncated versions, which allowed us to experience them as originally recorded. That provided us a view of the same painting on a wider canvas, offering more details, more of a sense of what was going on inside that demonically musical mind. And then there's the possibility of hearing some new solos, some new approaches - after all, how much Clarence (Gene) Shaw is there on record? Or Shafi Hadi? And there's no way one can hear too much Jimmy Knepper - certainly a player who never said the same thing the same way twice, to say nothing of Mr. Mingus. Initially, I had hoped to restore the missing pieces of the Tijuana Moods puzzle. The recording sheets held tempting promises: there were two missing master numbers, which implied unissued tunes (I won't tantalize - one was simply a skip in number sequence; the other, titled "My Celia," is a false start into an intro that never turns into a tune - can't win 'em all). The reality of the tapes was something else again. Hardly anything was recorded as a complete take, so arriving at the originally released track involved building up on a base take - or segment of a base take - and adding sections recorded as "patches" or "inserts." And, as noted, there was shortening, elimination of details, some loss of structure and solo in making the original TIJUANA MOODS.

But there was, gratefully, enough first-rate material for an album of alternate approaches to the same tunes, and this time I promised myself that the edits would be a little more on the seamless side.

So what we have here is the original unretouched TIJUANA MOODS (I resisted any temptation to remake those troublesome edits - after all, at this point they've been history for 14 years - or 19, if you count from the date of recording) and alongside of it what 1 think of as Tijuana's Other Moods, a second look at Mr. Mingus' "expected dream of Tijuana" - two views of what is clearly a masterpiece.


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