Today would have been Charles Mingus’ 87th birthday, which seems worth mentioning if for no other reason but to acknowlege Idolator’s one reader from Nogales, Arizona (Mingus’ birthplace). Oh, and Mingus was probably one of the true geniuses in jazz’s history.
By most accounts, Mingus was a difficult guy to deal with on occasion, punching fellow performers, shooting guns in his New York apartment, threatening audience members, but I don’t know if any of jazz’s big names had the ability to take odd collections of musicians and instruments and make something amazing from it. Sure, Miles Davis sounded great when he pulled the best musicians around for his albums, but there are Mingus albums with rosters that seem assembled from whoever happened to be hanging around the studio that afternoon. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be anything embeddable from my favorite Mingus album The Black Saint And The Sinner Lady (complete with liner notes by Mingus’ psychotherapist), but some Mingus is better than none.
“Better Git In Your Soul”:
I can understand that jazz as a genre isn’t for everyone, but if you pretend to like jazz at all, sit back and enjoy Eric Dolphy, Clifford Jordan and Mingus from Mingus’ post Black Saint… combo, recorded in Oslo, of all places.
And in a moment that makes me thank God for YouTube, here’s ten minutes of Mingus hanging out with his daughter and playing whatever instruments were sitting around his house.
Charles Mingus [official site]