Tonight at Noon (6.7.15)

Tonight at Noon is an album by jazz bassist and composer Charles Mingus, released on the Atlantic label in 1965. The record includes tunes that are melodic and easy, and yet tinged with a dark sentiment that makes you feel as if you are enjoying a beautiful sunset, whilst sitting atop a volcano.

The title Mingus chose for the album almost outlives the music, in subsequent movie titles and book titles about his life. In this edition of Liner Notes, Rabbi and jazz historian Neil Blumofe talks about what the album, and it’s title evoke in us.

There is a mystery in the night that Mingus is urging us to see as normal, perhaps in an effort to demystify the jazz conversation, by saying “noon” is not something to be afraid of. “Noon” is happening right here at night and it’s just as acceptable and respectable as anything that happens during the day. In essence, he is taking the darkness out of the night.

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Rebecca McInroy