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Music / Let My Children Hear Music

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A jive ass record

Let My Children Hear Music is a studio album by Charles Mingus released on Columbia Records in 1972.

Similar to The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady, it would fuse jazz with classical music, with Mingus composing the entirety of the record. Scored by a large ensemble, it would become a classic in within the Third Stream jazz genre, with its logical structure, playful nature and keen sense of musical composition. It would also be the album Mingus was most proud of. Telling arranger Sy Johnson it was the one record of his oeuvre he liked the most and thanking producer Teo Macero for "his untiring efforts in producing the best album I have ever made".


Side A
  1. "The Shoes of the Fisherman's Wife Are Some Jive Ass Slippers" (9:34)
  2. "Adagio ma Non Troppo" (8:22)
  3. "Don't Be Afraid, the Clown's Afraid Too" (9:26)
  4. "Taurus in the Arena of Life"note  (4:17)
Side B
  1. "Hobo Ho" (10:07)
  2. "The Chill of Death" (7:38)
  3. "The I of Hurricane Sue" (10:09)

Adagio ma Non Tropes

  • Don't Fear the Reaper: On "The Chill of Death"
    Darkness and nothingness clouded my mind.
    I began to realise death was nothing to fear but something sweet and kind.
  • Epic Rocking: Every track (with the exception of "Taurus in the Arena of Life" which wasn't on the initial release) goes over seven minutes.
  • Genre Mashup: The record would continue Mingus' tradition of fusing his classical influences with jazz music.
  • Jazz: The record would be renowned for being a seminal release in the third stream style of jazz.
  • Longest Song Goes Last: "The I Hurricane Sue". Which is the longest track at ten minutes.
  • Instrumentals: The entire record with the exception of "The Chill of Death".
  • New Sound Album: Although not entirely different from his previous attempts at fusion between jazz and classical (i.e. Black Saint and Sinner Lady) it would focus more on Mingus' compositional abilities (he doesn't play bass on the record) and further refine production techniques he had used on previous records such as overdubbing.
  • Spoken Word: On "The Chill of Death", which seems to be about the narrator meeting Death as a human woman.
    The chill of death as she clutched my hand.
    I knew she was coming so I stood like a man.
    She drew up closer, close enough for me to look into her face, and then began to wonder,
    "Haven't I seen you some other place?"
    She beckoned for me to come closer as if to pay an old debt.
    I knew what she wanted; it wasn't quite time yet.
    She threw her arms about me as many women had done before.
    I heard her whisper, "You'll never cheat me, never anymore."