Occasionally I answer my phone and hear only the sound of a piano. The absence of “Hello” or any other preface means it’s Mingus. Usually, he’s playing a new piece he’s finished working out on the piano, which has always been an essential companion wherever he’s lived. Mingus always composes on the piano, and gradually in the last couple of years, he’s begun to play the instrument in clubs and at concerts. This album represents the first time in his protean career that Mingus has recorded an entire set on which he plays only piano.
Loring Eutemey set the artist and album name in loosely spaced Gros Titre, an extremely loud and condensed caps-only alphabet shown in Lettera 2, edited by Armin Haab and Walter Haettenschweiler, 1961, and credited to Roland Schenk, 1959. On the cover, “Mingus” and “Oh Yeah” are separated by the Atlantic Records logo; on the back cover, the two are separated by a swash. The track listing is typeset in what looks like some version of Clarendon Condensed.
Among the images in the witty, slightly unsettling collage is a collection of punctuation, used as an illustration for “Wham Bam Thank You Ma’am”. The stark contrast in the question / exclamation marks is often found in typefaces that were released a few years later, such as Benguiat Caslon. The ampersand seems to be set in Caslon No. 471 & 540.