Jazz Music

Charles Mingus - Passions Of A Man

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Mingus' music was once believed to be too difficult to play without Mingus' leadership. However, many musicians play Mingus compositions today, 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.
American jazz musician Charles Mingus (1922 - 1979) is regarded by many as one of the best double bass players of the genre. He became equally well known for his prowess as a composer, and he has received ever-growing recognition since his early death in 1979 at the age of 56. Mingus's volatile, at times violent, personality, led to numerous high-profile disagreements with fellow musicians and critics and a reputation as "jazz's angry man," but also fueled a music known for its passion and spiritual depth.
Mingus's intolerance of racism and disdain for the record industry, which he strongly believed treated African-American jazz musicians unfairly, led to the 1952 formation of Debut Records, a collaboration with drummer Max Roach and Mingus's second wife, Celia. He returned to work at the post office that year as well. In 1953 Mingus began participating in the highly regarded Jazz Composers Workshop, but in 1955 he formed his own workshop with a rotating cadre of musicians. The new workshop enabled Mingus to exercise his own unique compositional style, which eschewed traditional notation and was characterized by saxophonist Yusef Lateef in Brian Priestley's Mingus: A Critical Biography: "For example, on one composition I had a solo and, as opposed to having chord symbols for me to improvise against, he had drawn a picture of a coffin, and that was the substance upon which I was to improvise." Mingus also often dictated lines individually to each player. Several highly regarded albums grew out of these work shops, including 1956's Pithecanthropus Erectus, Blues and Roots, Mingus Dynasty, and Mingus Ah Um, all released in 1959. The latter includes the composition "Good Bye, Pork Pie Hat," a tribute to Lester Young, who died while the album was being recorded. Mingus employed politically charged commentary with the composition "Fables of Faubus," a reference to the governor of Arkansas who called in the National Guard to fight public school integration.

Charles Mingus - bass
Shafi Hadi - alto and tenor saxophone
Jimmy Knepper - trombone
Wade Legge - piano
Dannie Richmond - drums
Jean Shepherd - narration
Recorded February 13, 1957

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