Commenting on this album in 1962, Billboard magazine wrote: "He seems to be everywhere, everywhere that is but on his usual instrument".
Charles Mingus, one of the most impressive musicians in the history of jazz, doesn't play a single note on the bass for a change, but leads the band from his (blues-)piano - the instrument that he always used for composing. He hits the keys, he sings the blues, he shouts and he encourages - apparently Mingus really found the need to express himself loudly in this album. (Doug Watkins stood in for him on the contrabass.)
Oh Yeah is definitely Mingus's most powerful and passionate album. He calls on two hot, intensive saxophonists - Roland Kirk and Booker Ervin - as well as Jimmy Knepper on the trombone. Kirk is the main soloist, but all three wind-players deliver expressive improvisations, carrying out a non-stop dialogue with one another, and pushing one other to achieve maximum energy. The music is wild and ecstatic, but it's not free jazz, remaining - as it does - grounded in blues and gospel. "Hog Callin' Blues" is an enthralling shuffle with a wealth of riffs, "Devil Woman" a clever slow blues with inventive wind figures. "Ecclusiastics", with its constant change of rhythm and expression alternating between gospel and blues, has the most complex form. Blues has always been a part of a black church service, said Mingus. "Eat That Chicken" (a homage to Fats Waller and his favorite food) even plays around with an old-time, Dixie feeling. Humor is never far away. Even in the atomic bomb song (this too, a sort of churchy blues) one hears the words: "Don't let 'em drop it! Stop it! Be-bop it!"
This Speakers Corner LP was remastered using pure analogue components only, from the master tapes through to the cutting head.
After several sessions with Columbia and Candid, Charles Mingus briefly returned to Atlantic and cut the freewheeling Oh Yeah, which has to rank as the wildest of all his classic albums. Mingus plays no bass whatsoever, hiring Doug Watkins to fill in while he accompanies the group on piano and contributes bluesy vocals to several tracks (while shouting encouragement on nearly all of them). Mingus had always had a bizarre sense of humor, as expressed in some of his song titles and arranging devices, but Oh Yeah often gets downright warped. That's partly because Mingus is freed up to vocalize more often, but it's also due to the presence of mad genius Roland Kirk. His chemistry with Mingus is fantastically explosive, which makes sense - both were encyclopedias of jazz tradition, but given over to oddball modernist experimentation... Oh Yeah is probably the most offbeat Mingus album ever, and that's what makes it so vital.
- 180g High Quality Vinyl
- Pure Analogue
- Made from the original, analogue master tapes
- November 1961 at Atlantic Studios, New York City, by Tom Dowd & Phil Iehle
- Produced by Nesuhi Ertegun
|Charles Mingus||piano, vocals|
|Roland Kirk||flute, siren, tenor sax, manzello, strich|
|Booker Ervin||tenor sax|
- Hog Callin' Blues
- Devil Woman
- Wham Bam Thank You Ma'am
- Oh Lord Don't Let Them Drop That Atomic Bomb On Me
- Eat That Chicken
- Passions Of A Man