Impulse, the new record company founded by Bob Thiele, was where Charlie Mingus made his musical home at the end of 1962. And with his very first album, entitled “The Black Saint And The Sinner Lady”, the double bass player produced a masterwork of the very highest order; this time it was his compositional talent rather than his instrument which was in the limelight. He added a good portion of rhythmic variety to the melodiousness of his ‘hero’ Duke Ellington and then added a touch of politics, for even in 1963 slavery had by no means been fully abolished in ‘American Society’! That is the explanation for the title of the suite – a harking back to African roots, the struggle for human rights for black people on all levels of political and cultural society, and a vision of ‘Freedom Day’!
Though Charlie Mariano’s tenor saxophone is spotlighted soloistically, it is really the varying timbres and changes in tempo that make all 39 minutes of this LP a sheer pleasure to listen to.
But Charlie Mingus does not demand that his public merely sit and listen to his music; he wants them to get up and dance to it. No, it’s not ballet music – more an inspiration for expressing oneself in movement.
The old Impulse pressings with their wonderful gatefold sleeves were almost always disappointing from a technical point of view because the LPs contained too much re-cycled vinyl. Now, after almost 40 years, we have the opportunity to bestow the studio technique with the recognition it deserves. This is the music that everyone always wanted to take with them on their desert island.