Mingus (Joni Mitchell album)

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This article is about the album by Joni Mitchell. For the album by Charles Mingus, see Mingus (Charles Mingus album).
Mingus
Studio album by Joni Mitchell
Released June 13, 1979[1]
Recorded 1978-1979 at A&M Studios, Hollywood and Electric Lady Studios, New York
Genre Folk jazz, Vocal jazz
Length 37:20
Label Asylum
Producer Joni Mitchell
Joni Mitchell chronology
Don Juan's Reckless Daughter
(1977)
Mingus
(1979)
Shadows and Light
(1980)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[2]
Pitchfork Media (5.5/10)[3]
Robert Christgau C+[4]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 3/5 stars[5]
from Mingus by Joni Mitchell, Asylum Records, 1979. Sample from Mingus Asylum Records/Elektra Entertainment Group 1979 via iTunes

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Mingus is the tenth studio album by Joni Mitchell, and a collaboration with jazz musician Charles Mingus. Recorded in the months before his death, it would be Mingus's final musical project; the album is wholly dedicated to him.

The album is quite experimental, featuring minimalist jazz, overplucked, buzzing acoustic guitars, and even wolves howling through "The Wolf That Lives In Lindsey". All of the lyrics are by Mitchell, while the music for four of the songs was composed by Mingus, three being new tunes, a fourth being his tribute to saxophonist Lester Young from his 1959 classic Mingus Ah Um, "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat", for which Mitchell wrote a set of lyrics.

As with the release preceding, Don Juan's Reckless Daughter, Mitchell hired personnel from jazz fusion group Weather Report, notably bassist Jaco Pastorius to play on the sessions. Mingus would also mark the first reunion of saxophonist Wayne Shorter and pianist Herbie Hancock in the studio since recording together on Shorter's seminal Native Dancer album, featuring Milton Nascimento, released in September 1974.

The album is spliced with excerpts, which are labelled "(Rap)", from recordings provided by Sue Graham Mingus, including a scat singing interplay between Joni and Mingus, and Charles and Sue arguing over his age at a birthday party. In "Funeral", Mingus and others discuss how long he'll live and what his funeral will be like. He refers to the Vedanta Society and asserts that "I'm going to cut Duke [Ellington]!". "God Must Be a Boogie Man," having taken shape two days after his death, was the only song Mingus was unable to hear. Mitchell suggests in the liner notes that Mingus would have found it hilarious.

The artwork features several paintings by Mitchell of Mingus. It peaked at #17 on the Billboard Pop Albums chart.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Joni Mitchell, except where noted. 

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Happy Birthday 1975 (Rap)"   0:57
2. "God Must Be a Boogie Man"   4:35
3. "Funeral (Rap)"   1:07
4. "A Chair in the Sky" (lyrics by Joni Mitchell, music by Charles Mingus) 6:42
5. "The Wolf That Lives in Lindsey"   6:35
Side two
No. Title Length
6. "I's a Muggin' (Rap)"   0:07
7. "Sweet Sucker Dance" (lyrics by Joni Mitchell, music by Charles Mingus) 8:04
8. "Coin in the Pocket (Rap)"   0:11
9. "The Dry Cleaner from Des Moines" (lyrics by Joni Mitchell, music by Charles Mingus) 3:21
10. "Lucky (Rap)"   0:03
11. "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat" (lyrics by Joni Mitchell, music by Charles Mingus) 5:37

Personnel[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Mingus by Joni Mitchell". Rate Your Music. Retrieved July 10, 2011. 
  2. ^ Planer, Lindsay. "Mingus - Joni Mitchell : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved June 27, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Joni Mitchell: The Studio Albums 1968-1979". Pitchfork. November 9, 2012. Retrieved June 27, 2013. 
  4. ^ "CG: Joni Mitchell". Robert Christgau. October 4, 2007. Retrieved June 27, 2013. 
  5. ^ The Rolling Stone Album Guide - Joni Mitchell