Rhino Records has announced that a substantial box set honouring the work of the legendary jazz bassist and composer CHARLES MINGUS is on the horizon and slated for a late June release. It is called Changes: The Complete 1970s Atlantic Recordings and covers the final phase of the jazz great’s storied career, focusing on his second, and arguably most fertile stint, at Atlantic Records, the iconic label that he initially signed to in the late 1950s and which released his acclaimed early albums Pithecanthropus Erectus and The Clown.  

Mingus’ return to Atlantic Records came in 1973 after he was controversially dropped by Columbia Records in a cull of its top jazz artists dubbed “The Great Purge,” which saw fellow jazz luminaries Ornette Coleman, Bill Evans, and Keith Jarrett all given their marching orders on the same day by the label’s president, Clive Davis, who wanted to focus all his label’s efforts on promoting electric jazz fusion. But Columbia’s loss was Atlantic’s gain and during the next six years, Mingus would record seven studio albums for the label: Mingus Moves (1973), Changes One (1974), Changes Two (1974), Three Or Four Shades of Blues (1977), a movie soundtrack album called Cumbia & Jazz Fusion (1977), Me, Myself an Eye (1979), and Something Like A Bird (1979). They all appear in the new box set, which is available on vinyl (as an eight-LP deluxe collection), CD (as a seven-disc compilation), digitally and to stream. The physical formats contain previously unissued bonus cuts – there are five in the LP configuration and one in the CD.

Accompanying the music is a detailed illustrated booklet featuring liner notes by musician, arranger, jazz scholar, and Grammy Award Nominee, Andrew Homzy.

Sadly, Mingus was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (aka Lou Gehrig’s Disease or what’s commonly referred to in the UK as Multiple Sclerosis) in early 1977 but continued to work until his death in January 1979, directing his musicians from a wheelchair for the final two albums in the set, which were released posthumously.  

A taster from the box set, ‘Devil Blues,’ is available now to buy and stream as a digital single. 

The album can be pre-ordered here:

Changes: The Complete 1970s Atlantic Recordings is released by Rhino on June 23