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Music / The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady

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"Touch my beloved's thought while her world's affluence crumbles at my feet."

The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady is a studio album by American jazz musician Charles Mingus, released on Impulse! Records in 1963. Comprised of six suites composed by Mingus that were initially conceived as a ballet, Mingus recorded the album shortly after he was discharged from Bellevue Psychiatric Hospital, a fact furthered by the liner notes containing a letter / review from his then psychotherapist, Dr. Edmund Pollock.

The record is considered a New Sound Album for Mingus and an incendiary release for Jazz music as a whole, with its genre-defying composition and innovative use of overdubbing. The three-way brass dialogue of trumpets, trombone and tuba, high flying reeds and a sturdy rhythm section balance delicate Andalusian modes and Duke Ellington-esque melodies, the ensemble frequently bursts into a cacophony of collective improvisation on par with jazz giants such as John Coltrane or Ornette Coleman.

It is because of this, the record is considered to be Mingus' masterwork alongside his prior record, Mingus Ah Um.


Side One
  1. "Solo Dancer (Stop! Look! And Listen, Sinner Jim Whitney!)" (6:39)
  2. "Duet Solo Dancers (Heart's Beat and Shades in Physical Embraces)" (6:45)
  3. "Group Dancers (Soul Fusion) (Freewoman and Oh, This Freedom's Slave Cries)" (7:22)

Side Two

  1. "Trio and Group Dancers (Stop! Look! And Sing Songs of Revolutions!)" / "Single Solos and Group Dance (Saint and Sinner Join in Merriment on Battle Front)" / "Group and Solo Dance (Of Love, Pain, and Passioned Revolt, Then Farewell, My Beloved, 'Til It's Freedom Day)" (18:39)

Stop! Look! And Listen To The Tropes!

  • Concept Album: Although it has no lyrics, it is generally considered to have themes of social injustice, freedom and liberation. Of which is elaborated upon by the letter / review written by his psychotherapist in the liner notes.
    "The titles of this composition suggest the plight of the black man and a plea to the white man to be aware. He seems to state that the black man is not alone but all mankind must unite in revolution against any society that restricts freedom and human rights."
  • Epic Rocking: Every track is above six minutes, and "Trio and Group Dancers" lasts an entire LP side.
  • Genre Mashup: Mingus frequently described the record's orchestral style as "ethnic folk-dance music."
  • Instrumentals: As to be expected from a jazz record.
  • Jazz: The record is considered to be a landmark in jazz music. Particularly in the avant-garde, third stream and free jazz movements.
  • Longest Song Goes Last: "Trio and Group Dancers (Stop! Look! And Sing Songs of Revolutions!)" takes up the entire side at just above eighteen and a half minutes.
  • New Sound Album: This record introduced more complex classical influences to his New Orleans brass and blues / gospel influenced sound.
  • Non-Appearing Title: The album title verbatim doesn't appear in the tracklist, though there are references to sinners and saints.
  • Short Title: Long, Elaborate Subtitle: All of the song titles.