Released on Trio Records is the second CD on the label by saxophonist Chris Biscoe "Profiles Of Mingus" celebrating the life of bassist/composer/bandleader Charles Mingus following on from his critically acclaimed “Gone In The Air” (TR578) featuring the music of Eric Dolphy. ‘Profiles of Mingus’ is a musical portrait of Mingus built around some of the many sketches he created of musicians, friends, lovers, politicians, cats and places which were important to him.
Mingus Moves, a sextet founded in 1996, and still including founder members Chris Biscoe, Henry Lowther and Stu Butterfield is at the core of this recording, and appears in various forms as quintet, sextet and septet. In addition there are three performances by an unusual quartet of alto sax, trumpet and two drummers, and four solo improvisations complete the portrait.
The music on "Profiles Of Mingus" has been arranged by Chris Biscoe and includes many of Charles Mingus’s best loved compositions including ‘Fables of Faubus’, ‘Goodbye Pork Pie Hat’, ‘Boogie Stop Shuffle’, ‘Reincarnation of a Lovebird’, ‘Self-Portrait in Three Colors’, ‘Pussy Cat Dues’ and ‘All The Things You Could Be By Now If Sigmund Freud’s Wife Was Your Mother’.
The musicians that make up Mingus Moves have all made their mark on the British and International scene. Chris Biscoe has been featured with Hermeto Pascoal, George Russell, The Brotherhood of Breath, Mike Westbrook and Kenny Wheeler. As well as enlivening fine bands with Jim Mullen (hear The Great Wee Band on Trio Records TR584) and Phil Lee, Stu Butterfield plays with Chris and Larry in “Gone in the Air”. Henry Lowther, a UK jazz legend who has appeared with everyone from Kenny Wheeler, Mike Gibbs and Stan Tracey to Gil Evans and George Russell and leads Still Waters. Trevor Mires is an exciting and original trombonist recently heard with Randy Brecker, Pat Metheny, Gwyllim Simcock and Tim Garland. Pete Hurt partnered Chris Biscoe in the George Russell Living Time Orchestra and Chris’s own band; has also made notable appearances with Carla Bley and Andy Sheppard. Award-winning pianist and composer Kate Williams has made four highly praised CDs under her own name and worked with the cream of UK talent including Bobby Wellins and Stan Sulzmann. Larry Bartley is a much in demand bassist with a lovely sound and melodic sense whose many credits include Courtney Pine, Andy Sheppard, Byron Wallen, Soweto Kinch and Cleveland Watkiss.
Special guests on the CD are the highly individual Paul Clarvis, and the doyen of British bass players, Dave Green. Paul has credits as various as Gordon Beck, Harrison Birtwhistle, Lee Konitz and Mose Allison. He is a member of Blink and plays in the duo Starry Starry Night with Liam Noble. Dave led Fingers, one of the first bands exploring the music of the most remarkable musician to combine the roles of leader, composer and bass player – Charles Mingus.
NEW REVIEW IN THE GUARDIAN FROM JOHN FORDHAM ****
Saxophonist and clarinetist Chris Biscoe has been on the British scene for a long time, but he's made the territory between postbop and free-jazz entirely his own, and his sophisticated tributes to the jazz giants are always distinctive. This varied set offers 10 reappraisals of compositions by Charles Mingus, plus originals by Biscoe, pianist Kate Williams and guest bassist Dave Green (Larry Bartley assumes all the other bass duties). The classic Fables of Faubus unfolds in growls and smears from Biscoe and trumpeter Henry Lowther over the full-on drum tattoos of Stu Butterfield and Paul Clarvis, and Lowther's shining long notes hold the harmonies under the leader's soaring alto sax on the sighing Duke's Choice. Williams has a gleaming solo meditation, and Biscoe an unaccompanied alto feature deploying his arsenal of bent tones, slithering runs and bluesy multiphonics, but through it all he maintains a rootsy quality that fits the set. The album's almost worth it for Boogie Stop Shuffle alone, one of Mingus's most deviously funky themes; but tenor saxophonist Pete Hurt is a powerful presence, and just reading the Mingus title All the Things You Could Be By Now If Sigmund Freud's Wife Was Your Mother has a pretty compelling appeal as well.
FOUR STAR REVIEW FROM KENNY MATHIESON, THE SCOTSMAN:
SAXOPHONIST Chris Biscoe follows his excellent set of Eric Dolphy material with this equally rich look at Charles Mingus. The project harks back to the Mingus Moves sextet of the mid-1990s, a band which included trumpeter Henry Lowther and drummer Stu Butterfield, both of whom feature in the shifting cast of quartet, quintet, sextet and septet combinations here, along with four solo improvisations, including a masterly meditation on Mingus from bass player Dave Green. Several of Mingus's well-known compositions dedicated to fellow musicians and other individuals provide a thematic thread running through the chosen material, from dedications to Ellington and Lester Young through to two takes on his vitriolic attack on Governor Faubus of Arkansas (but minus the chanting). Biscoe's sparkling arrangements and splendid playing vividly capture Mingus's sprawling, rumbustious energy, while giving the music a fresh twist. KENNY MATHIESON