Analogue Productions (Atlantic 75 Series). Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of Atlantic Records. Pressed at Quality Record Pressings. Pre-order now due June 2024

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The Clown was Charles Mingus’ second masterpiece in a row, featuring Jean Shepard (yes, that Jean Shepard from the holiday movie A Christmas Story) on the title tune narrating a story about a clown attempting to please the world with his performances.

The Clown also introduced two of Mingus’ finest compositions in the driving, determined “Haitian Fight Song” and the ’40s-flavored “Reincarnation of a Lovebird,” a peaceful but melancholy tribute to Charlie Parker; Mingus would return to both throughout his career.

With Pithecanthropus, Mingus displayed a gift for airtight, focused arrangements that nonetheless allowed his players great freedom to add to the established mood of each piece.

The Clown refines and heightens that gift; instead of just writing heads that provide launch points for solos, Mingus tries to evoke something specific with every piece, and even his most impressionistic forays have a strong storytelling quality.

The Clown tells the story of a clown “who tried to please people like most jazz musicians do, but whom nobody liked until he was dead,” Mingus said, in an interview.

“My version of the story ended with his blowing his brains out with the people laughing and finally being pleased because they thought it was part of the act. I liked the way Jean changed the ending; leaves it more up to the listener.”

The title track is even more interesting for the free improvisations led by trombonist Jimmy Knepper, as the group responds to Shepherd’s story and paints an aural backdrop.

It’s evidence that Mingus’ compositional palette was growing more determinedly modern, much like his increasing use of dissonance, sudden tempo changes, and multiple sections.


Charles Mingus, bass

Shafi Hadi, alto and tenor saxophone

Jimmy Knepper, trombone

Wade Legge, piano

Dannie Richmond, drums

Jean Shepherd, narration (Track 4)

Track List: CHARLES MINGUS The Clown

 Side 1

1. Haitian Fight Song


Side 2

1. Blue Cee


Side 3

1. Reincarnation Of A Lovebird


Side 4

1. The Clown


Analogue Productions

Analogue Productions It was in 1992 that Acoustic Sounds owner Chad Kassem reissued his first Analogue Productions title, Virgil Thompson's The Plow That Broke The Plains, originally on Vanguard. Analogue Productions began as a vehicle for Kassem to license his favorite all-time recordings and reissue them as remastered and as a superior version to the original release. Since its inception AP has reissued hundreds of titles, ranging from classical to folk, pop, rock, blues and jazz. Included in the many highlights of Analogue Productions' history are the Fantasy 45 Jazz Reissues, the Blue Note Reissues, and premium box sets of the music of such legendary acts as The Doors, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Nat "King" Cole and Norah Jones. True to its name, Analogue Productions works with the original analogue master tapes - more than any other reissue label! The result is superior sound - richer, warmer and more lifelike, than digital.

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