Friday, February 15, 2008

The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady

This is a jazz album.

This is a ballet 

This is a six-part music suite.

This is genius.

This is Mingus.

This album sounds improvised but everything has been written down meticulously in advance. Every detail composed beforehand.

This is the only jazz album to have liner notes written by a clinical psychologist. Mingus’ clinical psychologist. 

You see Charles Mingus recorded "The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady" immediately after he left the Bellevue psychiatric hospital observation ward in 1963. This institution was famous for receiving, in its rooms with a beautiful view, a long list of artists and writers among whom were Malcolm Lowry, Norman Mailer, Charlie Parker and William Burroughs, who was commited after he cut off his fingertip and gave it to a boyfriend. The playwright Eugene O'Neill and the poet Gregory Corso also spent time at Bellevue in stages of nervous breakdowns.

Enter Mingus. Exit Mingus

"Mr. Mingus thinks this is his best record. It may very well be his best to date for his present stage of development as other records were in the past. It must be emphasized that Mr. Mingus is not yet complete. He is still in a process of change and personal development. Hopefully the integration in society will keep pace with his. One must continue to expect more suprises from him…" Edmund Pollock, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist

But I nearly forgot, Charles Mingus wrote also his own liner notes on "The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady" album before the ones of his clinical psychologist. This is how they end:

"This music is only one little wave of styles and waves of little ideas my mind has encompassed through living in a society that calls itself sane, as long as you ‘re not behind iron bars where there at least one can’t be half as crazy as in most of the ventures our leaders take upon themselves to do and think for us, even to the day we should be blown up to preserve their idea of how life should be. Crazy? They’d never get out of the observation ward at Bellevue.

I did. So, listen how. Play this record. "   

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