Blues & Roots is an album by Charles Mingus, recorded in 1959 and released in 1960. It has been reissued twice as a CD, first by Atlantic Records, and then again by Rhino Entertainment in 1998.
Mingus explained the birth of this record in the album's liner notes:
- This record is unusual—it presents only one part of my musical world, the blues. A year ago, Nesuhi Ertegün suggested that I record an entire blues album in the style of Haitian Fight Song (in Atlantic LP 1260), because some people, particularly critics, were saying I didn't swing enough. He wanted to give them a barrage of soul music: churchy, blues, swinging, earthy. I thought it over. I was born swinging and clapped my hands in church as a little boy, but I've grown up and I like to do things other than just swing. But blues can do more than just swing. So I agreed.
- Q magazine (7/93, p.110) - 4 Stars - Excellent - "...at his best he could drive his fellow musicians onwards and upwards with big bass playing and hoarse exhortations. Blues & Roots contains six servings of this brilliance..."
- Down Beat (1960) - 4 Stars - Very Good - "...vital and important music...[Mingus] is outstanding in his solo work...this is something worth careful and thorough listening..."
- "Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting" – 5:39
- "Cryin' Blues" – 4:58
- "Moanin'" – 8:01
- "Tensions" – 6:27
- "My Jelly Roll Soul" – 6:47
- "E's Flat Ah's Flat Too" – 6:37
The 1998 Rhino CD reissue included these additional tracks:
- "Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting" – 6:59 – alternate take
- "Tensions" – 5:18 – alternate take
- "My Jelly Roll Soul" – 11:25 – alternate take
- "E's Flat Ah's Flat Too" – 6:47 – alternate take
All tracks composed by Charles Mingus. Recorded February 4, 1959 at Atlantic Studios in New York City.
- Charles Mingus – bass
- John Handy – alto sax
- Jackie McLean – alto sax
- Booker Ervin – tenor sax
- Pepper Adams – baritone sax
- Jimmy Knepper – trombone
- Willie Dennis – trombone
- Dannie Richmond – drums
- Horace Parlan – piano, except for "E's Flat Ah's Flat Too"
- Mal Waldron – piano on "E's Flat Ah's Flat Too"
- Nesuhi Ertegün – producer
- Tom Dowd – recording engineer