Charles Mingus
Let My Children Hear Music



Release Date: 1972 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Come listen, children

The year is 1972. Jazz has secured itself as a musical cornerstone, and although the Jazz Age is long past, the genre is far from irrelevance or stagnation. Players started blending jazz with other styles such as funk and rock, giving us the brilliance of what we now call jazz fusion. Creativity felt virtually endless and music-lovers relished every discovery. It was an era where compositional guru Charles Mingus could flourish, and while he didn't buck the creative trend, he managed to evolve on his own terms. With 'Let My Children Hear Music', Charles Mingus tastefully progresses his sound while giving homage to his stylistic roots.

Contrary to many of his contemporaries, Mingus seamlessly blends classical music with big band jazz. The collaboration with composer heavyweights Sy Johnson and Alan Raph adds a ton of depth, with every measure brimming with detail. "The Shoes of the Fisherman's Wife Are Some Jive Ass Slippers" opens the record, and although the title is somewhat shocking, some may say amusing, you don't dwell on it as the music takes the forefront. You're greeted with a soothing blanket of brass as the suspense builds into a crescendo of drums, piano and flutes. It feels much akin to the start of a musical theater production, with highly intricate arragements setting the stage for a magical experience. It's a wonderful, reeling track that takes you through peaks and valleys of swinging groove. Dannie Richmond is a true virtuoso behind the kit, striking the perfect balance between technicality and refrain to elevate the winds. He sits right in the pocket of the soloists, and while he lays the perfect foundation, he drops out for the last two minutes to let the sax and trumpet riff uninterrupted. It's little details like this that make the record so special. If there was one track I would recommend, it would be this opener. It's impeccable in every way, and arguably one of the greatest jazz compositions of all time.

While traditional jazz staples are apparent throughout, it's important to note the unorthodox flair as well. In the midst of irregular meter, dashing improvisation, and infectious swing, Mingus peppers in classical with enough panache to make Mozart blush. "Don't Be Afraid, The Clown's Afraid Too" offers some unusual delights, greeting you with recordings of circus animals and a drum-roll, painting an image of unsettling grandeur. The solo work is phenomenal as expected, with Mingus walking effortlessly across the bass in stride with the flute and Snooky Young's hypnotic trumpet playing. "Taurus in the Arena of Life" does an incredible job in pairing provocative movements of Latin jazz with an entrancing piano sonata. It's unlike anything you've heard before and will certainly draw you in. "The Chill of Death" pairs a spoken-word piece, performed by Mingus himself, with an eerie legato of cello and brass. It's a highly unusual piece, yet it fits perfectly on the album. Following the whirlwind of solos and bass-heavy groove in "Hobo Ho", Charles refuses to let you grow complacent. It's the perfect bizarre transition into the epic ten-minute closer "The I of Hurricane Sue", which brings every player out in full technical force until the very last breathtaking second.

Overall, "Let My Children Hear Music" is an absolute essential for music-lovers and jazz-enthusiasts alike. Mingus regarded it as the best album he ever made, and it's plain to see why. The vast array of styles will keep you guessing, the technical prowess will keep you amazed, and the attention to detail will keep you wondering how it's even possible. It's an unapologetic, ambitious, timeless release, with compositions that must be heard to be believed. An absolute classic.


user ratings (193)
4.3
superb

Comments:Add a Comment 
Mad.
March 28th 2024


4912 Comments


Fat banger of an album and great review man

Rowhaus
March 28th 2024


6064 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks bro! Had a bit of a slow work day so chipped away at this over a few hours to kill some time. Can’t believe this classic didn’t have a review.

platttt
March 29th 2024


19 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Incredible album, my favorite of the Mingus I've listened to so far. This was honestly and truly the first jazz album I ever checked out, and the first track was captivating to me.

Rowhaus
March 29th 2024


6064 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

It’s really something special. For a first jazz album this would be utterly incredible. I started with Kind of Blue which I still love, but it’s a smidge overrated imho. I feel like that’s where a lot of people started.

Colton
March 29th 2024


15197 Comments


Charles Dingus lol

Ryus
March 29th 2024


36545 Comments


yeah album is incredible

DadKungFu
Staff Reviewer
March 29th 2024


4708 Comments


Oh shit nice

nash1311
April 1st 2024


7984 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I can’t believe you reviewed this Row. One of my favorite jazz albums of all time

Rowhaus
April 2nd 2024


6064 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Hell yea bro, always gotta respect the greats. This is one of those albums I feel like everyone should hear at least once.

Pangea
April 2nd 2024


10507 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

awesome that this has a review now, thank you for your service!

YoYoMancuso
Staff Reviewer
April 2nd 2024


18849 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah this definitely needed a review, and I'm happy it got such a good one. Hobo Ho is my favorite song title ever.

Rowhaus
April 2nd 2024


6064 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

When the music is this good it feels like the reviews write themselves tbh



And Hobo Ho is indeed a great title lol, matched only by The Shoes of the Fisherman's Wife Are Some Jive Ass Slippers which is just ridiculous

SandwichBubble
April 2nd 2024


13796 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I'm late, but good review! Still one of his best, maybe 2nd behind Black Saint.



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