Although long controversial for several reasons—such as disappointingly woolly sound and rumors of clashes between volatile young "Charlie" Mingus and the almost-always imperturbable Duke Ellin

Although long controversial for several reasons—such as disappointingly woolly sound and rumors of clashes between volatile young "Charlie" Mingus and the almost-always imperturbable Duke Ellington—Money Jungle still stands as one of the most exciting summits ever between jazz royalty and young lions. This has never been more true than with this reissue. Producer Michael Cuscuna and remix/remastering engineer Ron McMaster have revisited the session tapes, not only refurbishing the sound at 24-bit but adding two previously unreleased alternate takes. The original poor-sounding seven-track United Artists LP and still-opaque 13-track CD is now a sonically bold 15-track treasure. The title tune sets the proceedings off right, as Ellington's muscular new number gives the leader and the bassist a chance to spar (with Mingus' obsessively agitated lines still seeming just this side of bizarre). Other Ellington tunes new to the session were the gorgeous ballad "Fleurette Africaine," rollicking "Very Special," and very Monk-like "Wig Wise." There are also fresh takes on Ellington standbys (such as a weirdly dissonant version of "Caravan"), plus an earthy sequence of blues. This new, improved Money Jungle is yet another feather in Cuscuna's many-plumed hat.—BB

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