"The Shoes of the Fisherman's Wife Are Some Jive Ass Slippers" is an amazing composition by Charles Mingus for his big band. The orchestration was done by Sy Johnson. Mingus has a penchant for creative titles; some other great titles are "Slop", "Pithecanthropus Erectus", "Gunslinging Bird", "E's Flat, Ah's Flat Too", and "New Now Know How". Of course the main point is that "Shoes of the Fisherman's Wife" is a brilliant composition, as Mingus was a brilliant composer.

The piece was intended to be premiered at the 1965 Newport Jazz Festival, but it wasn't. The first recording was made in 1971 and was released on the album Let My Children Hear Music. It was later re-released as part of the Columbia Jazz Masterpieces series as the title track, even though the remaining eight songs are from recording sessions on November 1st and 13th of 1959.

Charles Mingus died in 1979, but Mingus' work lives on, as the Mingus Big Band, consisting of many players formerly with Mingus and many brilliant new stars, tour and record from the Mingus songbook under the artistic direction of his widow, Sue Mingus. "Shoes" appears on their live album: Mingus Big Band: Live in Time, with solos by Seamus Blake on tenor saxophone and Kenny Drew Jr. on piano.


Sources: Liner notes of Shoes of the Fisherman's Wife, Columbia Jazz Masterpieces, and www.mingusmingusmingus.com

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