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Charles Mingus – The Black Saint and The Sinner Lady (1963)

December 17, 2014

[Album 359/1001]220px-Mingus_Black_Saint

The UK Office is brilliant.

That being said, at first glance, it is nearly unwatchable.

How so?  The many, many, cringe-worthy moments, mostly provided by Ricky Gervais’s character, the obnoxious David Brent.

On the first run through, viewers will likely wince at his antics.  It’s upon repeated viewings that viewers are more likely to appreciate the craft of the show.  There’s still the harshness but it’s softened by the more appealing personalities & the enjoyable dialogue among the rest of the ensemble.

I suppose my advice for maximum Mingus appreciation here is the same: don’t give up after a single perusal.

The preliminary run through may be harsh.  Growling low notes abound and if you’re looking for Stan Getz-esque velvet-y saxophone, I’m afraid it ain’t here!

However, much like a well crafted Office episode set in Slough (or Scranton if you will), I’m left wanting more and each re-listen has been increasingly satisfying.

When I reviewed Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, I argued there’s decadence in dissonance & that certainly applies here.  Just like Stephen Malkmus & Isaac Brock often balance on a similar tightrope with their vocal performances, the 11-piece band does a fine job of walking that fine line between intriguing & irritating.

The (well crafted) Black Saint and The Sinner Lady: sit back & enjoy its wonderful (if initially wince-inducing) layers.

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From → 1960s

9 Comments
  1. Need to get me some Mingus.

  2. Unwatchable?!!! I challenge you to pistols at dawn!

    (Love Mingus too, but I was indoctrinated by my folks before I left the cradle – we had a painting of him up in our living room)

  3. I love the original office with Mr. Gervais – I never would have thought he would take over the world and become the Pope of Atheism on twitter (which made him somewhat less funny), but this show is pure brilliance.

    • And I like his style with the office & extras – put together 2 solid seasons & quit while you’re ahead!

  4. A masterpiece from a guy who had a string of them from the mid-fifties through early seventies. Challenging at first, yes, but beautiful!

    • That challenging – to – beautiful transition seems to be a recurring theme among a bunch of my eventual favourites!

  5. I’m not much of a UK Office fan, either. However, Mingus is marvellous.

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