Along with Duke Ellington, the late Charles Mingus is one of the granddaddies of jazz: a composer, bandleader, bassist, incubator of talent, and notoriously larger-than-life figure. Cornell 1964, two discs of previously unreleased material recorded at the Ivy League university, is an outstanding addition to his catalog.
First off, this ensemble was short-lived; tenor saxophonist Clifford Jordan and multi-instrumental whiz Eric Dolphy would soon leave the fold. Some performances -- the rave-up take on Ellington's "Take the 'A' Train" for example -- embrace free jazz's boundary-shattering fury. Then there are a couple of tunes unique to Cornell: the whimsical "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling" and the standard "Jitterbug Waltz," wherein Dolphy's lyrical flute and Mingus' bass engage in a beautiful dance.