surprised the jazz world in 1962 with his historic trio session featuring Charles Mingus
and Max Roach
. Not in a mood to simply rework older compositions, the bulk of the LP focused on music he wrote specifically for the session. "Money Jungle" is a thunderous opener, a blues that might be classified somewhere between post-bop and avant-garde. The gem of the date is the fragile, somewhat haunting ballad "Fleurette Africaine," where Mingus
' floating bassline and Roach
's understated drumming add to the mystique of an Ellington
work that has slowly been gathering steam among jazz musicians as a piece worth exploring more often. "Very Special" is a jaunty upbeat blues, while the angular, descending line of "Wig Wise" also proves to be quite catchy. Ellington
also revisits "Warm Valley" (a lovely ballad indelibly associated with Johnny Hodges
) and an almost meditative "Solitude." Thunderous percussion and wild basslines complement a wilder-than-usual approach to "Caravan." Every jazz fan should own a copy of this sensational recording session.