Apr 20, 2022
Resonance Records, the top U.S. independent label for previously unreleased jazz treasures, will issue The Lost Album from Ronnie Scott’s, a never-before-heard 1972 club performance by bassist/composer Charles Mingus’ powerful sextet, as a three-LP Record Store Day offering on April 23 (one day after what would have been Mingus’ 100th birthday). The album will be issued as a three-CD set and digital download on April 29.
The two live sets, comprising nearly two-and-a-half hours of music, were professionally recorded on eight-track tapes via a mobile recording truck on Aug. 14-15, 1972. However, the performance went unreleased, as Columbia Records reversed course in the spring of 1973 and cancelled all its jazz projects except that of Miles Davis. By the time Mingus’ band took the stage at saxophonist Scott’s celebrated London club, Mingus was experiencing a career renaissance: he had received a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship and seen his music adapted for choreographer Alvin Ailey’s The Mingus Dances in 1971. The following year saw the release of his potent autobiography Beneath the Underdog and his widely acclaimed big band album Let My Children Hear Music.
Though his group still featured the formidable saxophonists Bobby Jones (tenor) and Charles McPherson (alto), the sextet was in a state of flux, but the new members delivered on stage. Pianist Jaki Byard was succeeded by the relatively unknown John Foster, who showed off both his keyboard and vocal chops at Scott’s. Longtime drummer Dannie Richmond, who had joined the pop band Mark-Almond, was replaced by the ingenious, powerful Detroit musician Roy Brooks, who demonstrated his invention the “breath-a-tone,” which allowed him to control the pitch of his kit while playing, and, on a couple of numbers, his abilities on the musical saw. The trumpet chair was filled by the phenomenal 19-year old Jon Faddis, a protégé and acolyte of Dizzy Gillespie.
The Lost Album features nine performances captured during the two-night engagement; some of them – the then-new compositions “Orange Was the Color of Her Dress, Then Silk Blues” and “Mind-readers’ Convention in Milano” and a sensational version of “Fables of Faubus” – are epics that range around the half-hour mark.
Podcast 898 takes a deep dive into this fascinating new recording with the help of Resonance co-President Zev Feldman, who co-produced the set with David Weiss. Musical selections include "Pops (a.k.a. When the Saints Go Marching In."