Why I love Mingus
The first time I heard a Charles Mingus composition I was instantly mesmerized by the organic melody and improvisatory order of his music. . It’s a mix of be bop, soft bop, hard bop, and a little bit of old 30’s Chicago jazz. It was apparent that this was superior music that touched one at a soul level; music that invited a close immersion in mindful listening.
Perhaps someone convinced you that Jazz music was not accessible music; that it required a degree of intellectualism, music theory, and snobbery? Listening to Mingus reminds all that Jazz is much more expansive than an effete art form. Jazz is the music of our essential shared essence. Mingus is an American composer of American music. Enjoy your legacy with joy and bountiful levity.
The bio and essential facts:
Charles Mingus Jr. (April 22, 1922 – January 5, 1979) was an American jazz double bassist, pianist, composer, and bandleader. A major proponent of collective improvisation, he is considered to be one of the greatest jazz musicians and composers in history, with a career spanning three decades and collaborations with other jazz legends such as Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Dannie Richmond, and Herbie Hancock.
Charles Mingus Jr.
April 22, 1922
US Army Base in Nogales, Arizona, United States
Los Angeles, California, United States
January 5, 1979 (aged 56)
Jazz, hard bop, bebop, avant-garde jazz, post-bop, Third Stream, orchestral jazz, free jazz
Musician, composer, bandleader
Double bass, piano, cello
Atlantic, Candid, Columbia, Debut, Impulse!, Mercury, United Artists
Pepper Adams, Jaki Byard, Miles Davis, Eric Dolphy, Duke Ellington, Jimmy Knepper, Joni Mitchell, Charlie Parker, Don Pullen, Dannie Richmond, Max Roach, Jack Walrath
‘Mingus’ compositions continue to be played by contemporary musicians ranging from the repertory bands Mingus Big Band, Mingus Dynasty, and Mingus Orchestra, to the high school students who play the charts and compete in the Charles Mingus High School Competition.