Artwork: Sadistic Mika Band’s “Appare”

“This cover clearly illustrates a tongue-in-cheek attempt to lessen the cultural divide between East and West.” So said Storm Thorgerson and Aubrey Powell about the cover of Sadistic Mica Band’s 1989 set, Appare.

50 Years Ago Today, Mingus Taught the Band to Play

Even the most dedicated rock and roll fans, blase’ though they might be about jazz, have to appreciate some of the artists whose names became household words in the late 1950′s. Like Hollywood A-listers, they don’t even need more than one name: MingusMilesBrubeck.

The year 1959, in particular, was a monumental year for the world of jazz. While it marked the passing of some legendary pioneers like Lester Young, Sidney Bechet and Billie Holiday, it was also the year that yielded some legendary albums. Coltrane did Giant StepsOrnette Coleman recorded The Shape of Jazz to Come and the world learned of the Genius of Ray Charles.

Sony Music, never one to miss a repackaging opportunity, will publish an homage to this great year of music with the reissue of three Columbia classics: Brubeck’s Take Five, Miles’ Sketches of Spain and Mingus’ Mingus Ah Um.

Take Five was the record that put Brubeck on the map, with the famed 5/4 tempo of the title cut and 45 RPM flip-side Blue Rondo Ala Turk now part of the jazz canon. Sketches of Spain was Miles fourth collaboration with Gil Evans, the man who indulged the symphonic side of Davis’ chameleon-like musical personality. And Mingus Ah Um had an exquisite feel of a film noir soundtrack, predating Mancini, Morricone and the New York downtown scene by years.

If you’re into “bonus material” then these new packages might be for you. If not, and you’re unacquainted with these magic records, you can find them in the Nice Price (i.e., good old-fashioned original) form in a million different places.

Here’s a little taste test:

Dave Brubeck - Pick Up Sticks

Miles Davis – Will o’ The Wisp

Charles Mingus - Boogie Stop Shuffle

Original Post, WNEW, March 16, 2009