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Charles Mingus: The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady

Charles Mingus: The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady (Impulse!, 1963)

Backed by an 11-piece band including Jaki Byard, Jerome Richardson, and Dannie Richmond, the mercurial Mingus applied his sizable compositional chops to the long form, blending influences from classical, folk, Spanish, and African music with his jazz sensibilities for a dazzling suite written for, or at least inspired by, ballet. Along with Mingus Ah Um, this has to be ranked among his best recordings. And it may be the only jazz album with liner notes by the artist and his psychotherapist. LEE MERGNER

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