Taken together, the ‘Cafe Bohemia’ and ‘Pithecanthropus Erectus’ recordings – as featured on this release – capture an important juncture in the career of Charles Mingus.
This being the moment when Mingus established a formidable musical identity as both composer/arranger and bandleader. These two sessions, each featuring a different front line, were taped within five weeks of each other. The ‘live’ Cafe Bohemia date has Eddie Bert on trombone and the underrated George Barrow on tenor sax and was recorded on December 23, 1955. While, what has become an undisputed classic, ‘Pithecanthropus Erectus’ was nailed down in a single day on January 30, 1956.This studio date, featured the great Jackie McLean on alto sax and yet another criminally underrated tenor sax stylist, J.R.Monterose.The Mingus-led rhythm section of pianist Mal Waldron and drummer Willie Jones was common to both sessions, though master drummer Max Roach makes a guest appearance on the live Bohemia date.
Formerly a strip joint, Cafe Bohemia was located in New York’s Greenwich Village and such was its ambience that a number of classic jazz albums were recorded live from its comparatively small stage. Most notable amongst these are those by The Jazz Messengers, Miles Davis, The George Wallington Quintet, Kenny Dorham, Randy Weston and these compelling performances by Charles Mingus and his Jazz Workshop unit among many others.
Haitian Fight Song / Lady Bird / I'll Remember April / Love Chant / Pithecanthropus Erectus / A Foggy Day / Love Chant / Profile Of Jackie