Song of the Day: Charles Mingus, “Ysabel’s Table Dance” (1957)

Charles Mingus claimed to have once traveled to Tijuana and slept with 23 prostituted in a brothel there in one night. There, he was also exposed to Mexican music for the first time in its natural setting. The mixture of sex and music excited him so much that it led him to record an album fusing jazz with Latin music.

The second track of Tijuana Moods is “Ysabel’s Table Dance,” one of his first forays into music for dance. It was inspired by the sensual flamenco dancer Ysabel Morel, the beautiful woman standing beside the jukebox in the album’s iconic cover. The exciting song also features her playing castanets at rapid-fire pace and spurring on the band.

Tijuana Moods was actually released five years after it was recorded. By the Mingus had embraced once again the bop cause and this makes his venture into Latin territory stand out even more in his awesome discography.

Written by Matt Micucci

I'm an international journalist, reporter, website editor and content creator. I actively work for JAZZIZ Magazine and FRED Film Radio, collaborate with other websites and curate my own projects, including IN ARTE MATT and CineCola. I have also curated and produced my series of films in Galway, Ireland, and photo exhibition and arts events in various European countries. I have a working class background and have and have a postgrad degree in Film Theory + a BA in Film & TV.

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