The small band preserved in this recording constituted both a summing up of Charles Mingus’s musical development to late 1955 and a preview of his astounding creative energy to come. The experiments with atmospherics ("A Foggy Day"), dynamics ("Lady Bird), and harmonies ("Love Chant") were all to be expanded in the incredible Mingus bands of the later 1950s and early Sixties. But the early version of "Haitian Fight Song" stands on its own merits of beauty, quite aside from considerations of the piece’s later turbulent evolution. Max Roach’s interaction with the passionate bassist and his band on "Drums" is a classic instance of the master drummer as complete musician. There is stunning soloing by pianist Mal Waldron, trombonist Eddie Bert, and the powerful but nearly unknown saxophonist George Barrow. As for the ensemble work, no quintet has ever made more expansive music.
with Eddie Bert, George Barrow, Mal Waldron, Willie Jones