Live recordings of Charles Mingus’ 1973 Detroit residency unearthed

    Pulled from master tapes that drummer Roy Brooks’ widow had in her possession.

    Charles Mingus, circa 1970
    Image: Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

    Some newly unearthed Charles Mingus tapes are out in the world: Jazz in Detroit / Strata Concert Gallery / 46 Selden is out today on BBE (Barely Breaking Even) Records.

    The album comprises live recordings of five shows from a week-long residency, in 1973, at Detroit’s Strata Concert Gallery. Mingus was backed by drummer Roy Brooks, trumpeter Joe Gardner, pianist Don Pullen and saxophonist John Stubblefield.

    Even if not there in person, listeners could hear the music from the comfort of their homes thanks to Robert “Bud” Spangler, who broadcast the sessions live on WDET FM, a public radio station dedicated to jazz. Spangler died in 2014, but his presence remains on Jazz in Detroit—his introduction of the band, his interview with Brooks and his reporting live from the gallery are all included in the release.

    Jazz in Detroit came to light thanks to DJ and 180 Proof Records founder Amir Abdullah. He first learned of Mingus’ Strata residency in 2012 when he discovered the original flyer in the midst of research for a museum exhibit. In the summer of 2017, Strata Records owner Barbara Cox notified Abdullah that Roy Brooks’ widow, Hermine, actually had the master tapes of the performances, he explained to Treble Zine.

    Abdullah also said of Mingus, “He was a complicated person, but he was his own man in a time where black men were not allowed to be men. Some might say nothing has changed. Mingus is still relevant today because of his singular will to push music forward, always create, and the importance he placed on band improvisation.”

    Stream Jazz in Detroit / Strata Concert Gallery / 46 Selden below:

    And if you’d like to own the album in vinyl or CD format, head to Norman Records here.