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Blues & Roots

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Blues & Roots
Studio album by
ReleasedMarch 1960[1]
RecordedFebruary 4, 1959
StudioAtlantic Studios, New York City
GenreHard bop
SD 1305
ProducerNesuhi Ertegun
Charles Mingus chronology
Mingus Ah Um
Blues & Roots
Mingus Dynasty
Professional ratings
Review scores
The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings[3]
Q Magazine

Blues & Roots is an album by Charles Mingus, recorded in 1959 and released on the Atlantic label in 1960. It has been reissued on CD by both Atlantic and Rhino.


Mingus explained the origins of this record in the album's liner notes:[4]

This record is unusual— it presents only one part of my musical world, the blues. A year ago, Nesuhi Ertegün suggested that I record an entire blues album in the style of "Haitian Fight Song" (in Atlantic LP 1260), because some people, particularly critics, were saying I didn't swing enough. He wanted to give them a barrage of soul music: churchy, blues, swinging, earthy. I thought it over. I was born swinging and clapped my hands in church as a little boy, but I've grown up and I like to do things other than just swing. But blues can do more than just swing. So I agreed.

— Charles Mingus


  • Q Magazine (7/93, p. 110) - 4 Stars - Excellent - "...at his best he could drive his fellow musicians onwards and upwards with big bass playing and hoarse exhortations. Blues & Roots contains six servings of this brilliance..."
  • DownBeat (1960) - 4 Stars - Very Good - "...vital and important music...[Mingus] is outstanding in his solo work...this is something worth careful and thorough listening..."

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting" – 5:39
  2. "Cryin' Blues" – 4:58
  3. "Moanin'" – 8:01
  4. "Tensions" – 6:27
  5. "My Jelly Roll Soul" – 6:47
  6. "E's Flat Ah's Flat Too" – 6:37

The 1998 Rhino CD reissue included these additional tracks:

  1. "Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting" – 6:59 – alternate take
  2. "Tensions" – 5:18 – alternate take
  3. "My Jelly Roll Soul" – 11:25 – alternate take
  4. "E's Flat Ah's Flat Too" – 6:47 – alternate take

All tracks composed by Charles Mingus. Recorded February 4, 1959, at Atlantic Studios in New York City.



  1. ^ "Reviews and Ratings of New Albums - Billboard Magazine". 21 March 1960. Retrieved 20 February 2020.
  2. ^ Huey, Steve (2011). "Blues & Roots - Charles Mingus | AllMusic". allmusic.com. Retrieved 13 August 2011.
  3. ^ Cook, Richard; Morton, Brian (2008). The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings (9th ed.). Penguin. p. 1002. ISBN 978-0-141-03401-0.
  4. ^ "Blues & Roots". aln2.albumlinernotes. Retrieved 2021-02-08.


  • Sleeve notes to Atlantic Records CD reissue of Blues & Roots (Atlantic SD-1305-2)