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» Charles Mingus

Charles Mingus
Born: April 22, 1922 in Nogales, Ar
Died: January 5, 1979 in Cuernavaca, MexiCo
Active: '40s-'70s Major
Styles: Post-Bop, Bop, Hard Bop
Instrument: Bass Representative
Albums: "The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady", "Blues & Roots", "The Complete Candid Recordings" Representative
Songs: "Fables of Faubus", "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat", "Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting"

UPC Type Title
8436539311003 (i) CD 1962 Town Hall Concert
8436542013093 (i) Vinyl 1962 Town Hall Concert
075678140327 CD 3 or 4 Shades of Blues
5099706551225 (i) CD Ah Hum
8436028691616 (i) CD Ah Hum (Incl. 3 Bouns Tracks)
8013252882081 Vinyl Alternate Moods of Tijuana
016728304122 CD At Ucla 1965
011105017428 CD Black Saint & Sinner Lady
602527809533 CD Black Saint & the Sinner Lady/Mingus Mingus Mingus
011105117425 (i) CD Black Saint & the Sinner
4988005697035 (i) CD Black Saint & the Sinner Lady
753088003578 Vinyl Black Saint & the Sinner Lady
4260019711403 (i) Vinyl Black Saint & the Sinner Von
753088003561 SACD Black Saint & the Sinner Lady
081227520526 CD Blues & Roots
4943674068197 (i) CD Blues & Roots
8436028696215 (i) CD Blues & Roots
725543264411 Vinyl Blues & Roots
8436028698875 (i) Vinyl Blues & Roots
081227870812 (i) Vinyl Blues & Roots
4943674120451 (i) CD Changes One
081227659028 (i) CD Changes One
8718469532179 (i) Vinyl Changes One
081227140427 CD Changes Two
081227659127 (i) CD Changes Two
8718469533473 (i) Vinyl Changes Two
708857935321 CD Charles Mingus & the Newport Rebels
016728306522 CD Charles Mingus in Paris: Complete America Session
894231232022 CD Charles Mingus & John Laporta: Vol. 1-Jazzical Moo..
894231232220 CD Charles Mingus & John Laporta: Vol. 2-Jazzical Moo..
8427328603911 CD Charles Mingus & the Jazz Composers Workshop: Comp..
025218182928 CD Charles Mingus: Vol. 4-Debut Rarities
886979795921 CD Charles Mingus: Complete Album Collection
724382835325 CD Charles Mingus: Complete Town Hall Concert
5036408156921 (i) CD Charles Mingus: Vol. 2-Six Classic Albums
025218182126 (i) CD Charles Mingus: Vol. 3-Debut Rarities
8436028696277 (i) CD Charles Mingus & the Jazz Workshop All Stars: Comp..
090204626212 (i) CD Charles Mingus
7798136571596 (i) CD Charles Mingus
4011222219534 (i) CD Charles Mingus
8436019584293 (i) CD Charles Mingus & Eric Dolphy: Complete Live in Ams..
8436028697250 (i) CD Charles Mingus: Complete 1960 Nat Hentoff Sessions
016351631596 DVD Charles Mingus-Triumph of the Underdog
8013252888847 Vinyl Charles Mingus: Vol. 2-Jazz Composers Workshop
5060149620199 Vinyl Charles Mingus Presents Charles Mingus
4943674068166 (i) CD Clown
081227374921 (i) CD Clown
725543264312 Vinyl Clown
8436028693337 (i) CD Complete Bremen Concert
094639221028 CD Cornell 1964
081227178529 CD Cumbia & Jazz Fusion
887254548225 (i) CD Die Zeit Legend Des Jazz
8436028694716 (i) CD East Coasting
889397271916 Vinyl East Coasting
8436028697021 (i) Vinyl East Coasting
5036408118226 (i) CD Eight Classic Albums
801213917198 DVD Epitaph
5022810302629 CD Four Classic Albums Plus
8712177005031 (i) CD Goodbay Pork Pie Hat
5051442483628 (i) CD Incontournables
805520090193 (i) CD Individualist
4943674110964 (i) CD Introducing
888072337220 CD Jazz at Massey Hall
025218604420 CD Jazz at Massey Hall
8436539310853 (i) CD Jazz at Massey Hall
4988002506217 (i) CD Jazz at Massey Hall (Mini LP Sleeve)
4988002328543 (i) CD Jazz at Massey Hall 1
4988002517008 (i) CD Jazz at Massey Hall
4988002467860 (i) CD Jazz at Massey Hall
4988002491759 (i) CD Jazz at Massey Hall
8436019584644 (i) Vinyl Jazz at Massey Hall
778325552022 CD Jazz Biography
8013252888830 Vinyl Jazz Composers Workshop
689466687248 CD Jazz Experiments of Charles Mingus
689466687491 Vinyl Jazz Experiments of Charles Mingus
8013252888014 Vinyl Jazz Experiments of Charlie Mingus
747313900657 DVD Jazz Icons: Charles Mingus
725543632913 Vinyl Jazz Portraits
8427328605359 CD Jazz Workshop 1957-1958
025218185721 CD Jazzical Moods
8436028699797 (i) CD Jazzical Moods
8712177047581 (i) CD Just for Laughs
886972412825 CD Ken Burns Jazz
8436028692224 (i) CD Legendary Trios
886972417226 CD Let My Children Hear Music
5017261211408 (i) CD Let My Children Hear Music/Charles Mingus & Friend
5060149621134 Vinyl Let My Children Hear Music
8026575056220 (i) CD Lionel Sessions
801213904792 DVD Live at Montreux 1975
090431684023 CD Me Myself an Eye
4943674130504 (i) CD Me Myself & Eye
8013252203022 CD Meets Cat Anderson
708857902125 CD Mingus
074646551226 CD Mingus Ah Um
4547366047097 (i) CD Mingus Ah Um-Legacy Edition
4547366044577 (i) CD Mingus Ah Um
5060143493362 (i) CD Mingus Ah Um
858492002305 Vinyl Mingus Ah Um
886976648718 (i) Vinyl Mingus Ah Um Remastered
8436028696819 (i) Vinyl Mingus Ah Hum
075679053220 CD Mingus at Antibes
025218604529 CD Mingus at the Bohemia
081227659325 (i) CD Mingus at Antibes
4943674115679 (i) CD Mingus at Carnegie Hall
4943674068586 (i) CD Mingus at Carnegie Hall
4943674068579 (i) CD Mingus at Antibes
025218604512 Vinyl Mingus at Bohemia
892001002868 Vinyl Mingus at Carnegie Hall
725543840615 Vinyl Mingus at the Bohemia
725543275110 Vinyl Mingus at Antibes
074646551325 (i) CD Mingus Dynasty
4547366210934 (i) CD Mingus Dynasty
886974920823 (i) CD Mingus Dynasty
889397271817 Vinyl Mingus Dynasty (Ltd)
063757307723 CD Mingus in Europe
4988001124504 (i) CD Mingus in Europe 1
011105017022 CD Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus MI
4988005384072 (i) CD Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus
4988005271815 (i) CD Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus (Mini LP Sleeve)
753088005473 Vinyl Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus
4260019711885 Vinyl Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus
753088005466 SACD Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus
090431636329 CD Mingus Moves
4943674129874 (i) CD Mingus Moves
011105121729 (i) CD Mingus Plays Piano
4988005603623 (i) CD Mingus Plays Piano
4988005285324 (i) CD Mingus Plays Piano
8436028698509 (i) CD Mingus Revisited/Jazz Portraits-Mingus in Wonderla
8436028696550 (i) CD Mingus Three
5019148010326 (i) CD Minor Instrusion
4526180129622 (i) CD Modern Jazz Symposium of Music & Poetry
708857904228 CD Mysterious Blues
031397904220 (i) CD Mysterious Blues
5013929852921 (i) CD Night at Cafe Bohemia/Pithecanthropus Erectus Sess
075679066725 CD Oh Yeah
081227374822 (i) CD Oh Yeah
4943674068173 (i) CD Oh Yeah
081227535926 (i) CD Oh Yeah
725543264510 Vinyl Oh Yeah
4943674120598 (i) CD Oh.Yeah
8436028696130 (i) DVD Orange Was the Colour of Her Dress
886977360527 (i) CD Original Album Classics
081227976286 (i) CD Original Album Series
081227965235 (i) CD Passions of a Man: The Complete Atlantic Recording
081227361624 (i) CD Pithe Canthropus Erectus
4943674142088 (i) CD Pithecanthropus Erectus
4943674068159 (i) CD Pithecanthropus Erectus (Mini LP Sleeve)
8436028694372 (i) CD Pithecanthropus Erectus/the Clown
4943674077144 (i) CD Pithecanthropus Erectus
081227535728 (i) CD Pithecanthropus Erectus
4943674059614 (i) CD Pithecanthropus Erectus
725543264619 Vinyl Pithecanthropus Erectus
8436028699933 (i) Vinyl Pithecanthropus Erectus
698458102928 (i) CD Plays It Cool
025218644020 CD Plus Max Roach
708857900527 CD Presents Charles Mingus
8436028698394 (i) CD Presents Charles Mingus
8436028699926 (i) Vinyl Presents Charles Mingus
708857902620 CD Reincarnation of a Love Bird
8712177046119 (i) CD Reincarnation of Lovebird
025218623728 CD Right Now-Live at Jazz Worksho
8436019584286 (i) CD Salle Wagram Concert Complete Edition
8013252203626 CD Stuttgart Meditations
8712177048762 (i) CD Take the a Train
4943674129881 (i) CD Three or Four Shades of Blue
752211160225 CD Thrice Upon a Theme
4988017664186 (i) CD Tijuana Moods
886976943929 (i) CD Tijuana Moods
4547366210941 (i) CD Tijuana Moods
8436028694389 (i) CD Tijuana Moods (Bonus Tracks)
4260019714480 Vinyl Tijuana Moods
646315712926 CD Tonight at Noon
4943674068180 (i) CD Tonight at Noon
4943674116416 (i) CD Tonight at Noon
075678079320 (i) CD Tonight at Noon
4540957007654 (i) CD Tonight at Noon (Mini LP Sleeve)
725543235916 Vinyl Tonight at Noon
025218604222 CD Town Hall Concert
889397271510 Vinyl Trio (Ltd)
778325223724 CD Ultimate Doubles
824046870423 CD Unique
7798093710427 CD Very Best of
026198274825 CD West Coast 1945-49
4988001119906 (i) CD With Orchestra

Biography: Irascible, demanding, bullying, and probably a genius, Charles Mingus cut himself a uniquely iconoclastic path through jazz in the middle of the 20th century, creating a legacy that became universally lauded only after he was no longer around to bug people. As a bassist, he knew few peers, blessed with a powerful tone and pulsating sense of rhythm, capable of elevating the instrument into the front line of a band. But had he been just a string player, few would know his name today. Rather, he was the greatest bass-playing leader/composer jazz has ever known, one who always kept his ears and fingers on the pulse, spirit, spontaneity, and ferocious expressive power of jazz.

Intensely ambitious yet often earthy in expression, simultaneously radical and deeply traditional, Mingus' music took elements from everything he had experienced -- from gospel and blues through New Orleans jazz, swing, bop, Latin music, modern classical music, even the jazz avant-garde. His touchstone was Duke Ellington, but Mingus took the sonic blend and harmonies of Ellingtonia much further, throwing in abrasive dissonances and abrupt changes in meter and tempo, introducing tremendously exhilarating accelerations that generated a momentum of their own. While his early works were written out in a classical fashion, by the mid-'50s, he had worked out a new way of getting his unconventional visions across, dictating the parts to his musicians while allowing plenty of room for the players' own musical personalities and ideas. He was also a formidable pianist, fully capable of taking that role in a group -- which he did in his 1961-62 bands, hiring another bassist to fill in for him.

Along the way, Mingus made a lot of enemies, causing sometimes violent confrontations on and off the bandstand. A big man physically, he used his bulk as a weapon of intimidation, and he was not above halting concerts to chew out inattentive audiences or errant sidemen, even cashiering a musician now and then on the spot. At one of his concerts in Philadelphia -- and a memorial to a dead colleague at that -- he broke up the show by slamming the piano lid down, nearly smashing his pianist's hands, and then punched trombonist Jimmy Knepper in the mouth. For a savage physical portrait of the emotions that seethed within him, check out the photo on the cover of Duke Ellington's Money Jungle; Mingus looks as if he is about to kill someone. But he could also be a gentle giant as his moods permitted, and that quality can be felt in some of his music.

Mingus felt the lash of racial prejudice very intensely -- which, combined with the frustrations of making it in the music business on his own terms, found its outlet in music. Indeed, some of his bizarre titles were political in nature, such as Fables of Faubus (referring to the Arkansas governor who tried to keep Little Rock schools segregated), "Oh Lord, Don't Let Them Drop That Atomic Bomb on Me" or "Remember Rockefeller at Attica." But he could also be wildly humorous, the most notorious example being "If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger, There'd Be a Whole Lot of Dead Copycats" (later shortened to "Gunslinging Bird").

Born in a Nogales Army camp, Mingus was shortly thereafter taken to the Watts district of Los Angeles, where he grew up. The first music he heard was that of the church -- the only music his stepmother allowed around the house -- but one day, despite the threat of punishment, he tuned in Duke Ellington's "East St. Louis Toodle-Oo" on his father's crystal set, his first exposure to jazz. He tried to learn the trombone at six and then the cello, but he became fed up with incompetent teachers and ended up on the double bass by the time he reached high school. His early teachers were Red Callender and an ex-New York Philharmonic bassist named Herman Rheinschagen, and he also studied composition with Lloyd Reese. A proto-third stream composition written by Mingus in 1940-41, "Half-Mast Inhibition" (recorded in 1960), reveals an extraordinary timbral imagination for a teenager.

As a bass prodigy, Mingus performed with Kid Ory in Barney Bigard's group in 1942 and went on the road with Louis Armstrong the following year. He would gravitate toward the R&B side of the road later in the '40s, working with the Lionel Hampton band in 1947-48, backing R&B and jazz performers, and leading ensembles in various idioms under the name Baron Von Mingus. He began to attract real national attention as a bassist for Red Norvo's trio with Tal Farlow in 1950-51, and after leaving that group, he moved to New York and began working with several stellar jazz performers, including Billy Taylor, Stan Getz and Art Tatum. He was the bassist in the famous 1953 Massey Hall concert in Toronto with Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell and Max Roach, and he briefly joined his idol Ellington, where he had the dubious distinction of being the only man Duke ever personally fired from his band.

Around this time, Mingus tried to make himself into a rallying point for the jazz community. He founded Debut Records in partnership with his then-wife Celia and Roach in 1952, seeing to it that the label recorded a wide variety of jazz from bebop to experimental music until its demise in 1957. Among Debut's most notable releases were the Massey Hall concert, an album by Miles Davis, and several Mingus sessions that traced the development of his ideas. He also contributed composed works to the Jazz Composers' Workshop from 1953 to 1955, and later in '55, he founded his own Jazz Workshop repertory group that found him moving away from strict notation toward his looser, dictated manner of composing.

By 1956, with the release of Pithecanthropus Erectus (Atlantic), Mingus had clearly found himself as a composer and leader, creating pulsating, ever-shifting compendiums of jazz's past and present, feeling his way into the free jazz of the future. For the next decade, he would pour forth an extraordinary body of work for several labels, including key albums like The Clown, New Tijuana Moods, Mingus Ah Um, Blues and Roots and Oh Yeah; standards like "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat," "Better Git It in Your Soul," "Haitian Fight Song" and "Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting," and extended works like Meditations on Integration and Epitaph. Through ensembles ranging in size from a quartet to an 11-piece big band, a procession of noted sidemen like Eric Dolphy, Jackie McLean, J.R. Monterose, Jimmy Knepper, Roland Kirk, Booker Ervin, and John Handy would pass, with Mingus' commanding bass and volatile personality pushing his musicians further than some of them might have liked to go. The groups with the great Dolphy (heard live on Mingus at Antibes) in the early '60s might have been his most dynamic, and The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady (1963), an extended ballet for big band that captures the anguished/joyful split Mingus personality in full, passionately wild cry -- may be his masterpiece.

However, Mingus' obsessive efforts to free himself from the economic hazards and larceny of the music business nearly undermined his sanity in the 1960s (indeed, some of the liner notes for The Black Saint album were written by his psychologist, Dr. Edmund Pollock). He tried to compete with the Newport festivals by organizing his own Jazz Artists Guild in 1960 that purported to give musicians more control over their work, but that collapsed with the by-now-routine rancor that accompanied so many Mingus ventures. A calamitous, self-presented New York Town Hall concert in 1962; another, shorter-lived recording venture, Charles Mingus Records, in 1964-65; the failure to find a publisher for his autobiography Beneath the Underdog, and other setbacks broke his bank account and ultimately his spirit. He quit music almost entirely from 1966 until 1969, resuming performances in June 1969 only because he desperately needed money.

Financial angels in the forms of a Guggenheim Fellowship in composition, the publication of Beneath the Underdog in 1971, and the purchase of his Debut masters by Fantasy boosted Mingus' spirits, and a new stimulating Columbia album Let My Children Hear Music thrust him back into public attention. By 1974, he had formed a new young quintet, anchored by his loyal drummer Dannie Richmond and featuring Jack Walrath, Don Pullen and George Adams, and more compositions came forth, including the massive, kaleidoscopic, Colombian-based "Cumbia and Jazz Fusion" that began its life as a film score.

Respect was growing, but time, alas, was running out, for in fall 1977, Mingus was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease), and by the following year, he was unable to play the bass. Though confined to a wheelchair, he nevertheless carried on, leading recording sessions, and receiving honors at a White House concert on June 18, 1978. His last project was a collaboration, Mingus with folk-rock singer Joni Mitchell, who wrote lyrics to Mingus' music and included samples of Mingus' voice on the record.

Since his death, Mingus' importance and fame increased remarkably, thanks in large part to the determined efforts of Sue Mingus, his widow. A posthumous repertory group, Mingus Dynasty, was formed almost immediately after his death, and that concept was expanded in 1991 into the exciting Mingus Big Band, which has resurrected many of Mingus' most challenging scores. Epitaph was finally reconstructed, performed and recorded in 1989 to general acclaim, and several box sets of portions of Mingus' output have been issued by Rhino/Atlantic, Mosaic and Fantasy. Beyond re-creations, the Mingus influence can be heard on Branford Marsalis' early Scenes in the City album, and especially in the big band writing of his brother Wynton. The Mingus blend of wildly colorful eclecticism solidly rooted in jazz history should serve his legacy well in a future increasingly populated by young conservatives who want to pay their respects to tradition and try something different. ~ Richard S. Ginell, Rovi