Cornell 1964

This live recording, two hours of music on two CDs, is an amazing testament to the power of Mingus and his band. The featured artist is Eric Dolphy, an incredible flute, bass clarinet and alto-sax player, who died three months after this date. From the opening notes of pianist Jaki Byard’s free ragtime composition “ATFW” (that’s Art Tatum/Fats Waller) to the playful give and take between Dolphy’s flute, Mingus’ bass and the rest of the band on Waller’s “Jitterbug Waltz,” the music displays an outrageous, exuberant vibe. Dolphy’s bass clarinet solo on “Orange Was the Color of Her Dress, then Blue Silk” is magnificent, eliciting exclamations of encouragement from both audience and band members. The recording is mono, but Mingus’ arrangements allow every musician the space needed to dazzle us.