The Lost Album From Ronnie Scott’s
“The Man Who Never Sleeps”
Charles Mingus’ two-week residency at Ronnie Scott’s is the stuff of legend. In her insightful book Tonight at Noon, Sue Mingus wrote about her husband’s 1972 stint at the celebrated London jazz club, detailing a phone call between her (back in the States) and Scott, in which the club owner initially reported that Mingus had thrown tenor saxophonist Bobby Jones down a flight of steps. (Apparently, Jones was drunk and fell on his own, but was well enough to return to the bandstand.) One thing Scott did get right was his assessment of the music, which he described as “utterly fantastic.” The proof is now available on the triple-disc set The Lost Album From Ronnie Scott’s (Resonance), featuring never-released recordings from August 14-15, 1972. A 19-year-old Jon Faddis instrumentally converses with Mingus on the introduction to “The Man Who Never Sleeps,” our selection, trumpet and bass bantering like a squabbling couple. Mingus’ elegant composition displays deep Ellingtonian roots, as he and Faddis are joined by pianist John Foster, saxophonists Jones and Charles McPherson and drummer Roy Brooks, the ensemble unwinding the bluesy melody over 18 and a half captivating minutes.