I Know what I Know: The Music of Charles Mingus
From the mid-1940s until his death in 1979, Charles Mingus created an unparalleled body of recorded work, most of which remains available in the 21st century. While there have been several volumes devoted to Mingus's colorful and tumultuous life, this is the first book in the English language to be devoted fully to his music. General jazz fans as well as musicians and music students who would like a better understanding of Mingus's complex, often difficult music, will find a complete, chronologically arranged, listener's guide to all of his legitimate recordings, from the 78s he recorded in Los Angeles and San Francisco in the mid-1940s, through the legendary albums he made for Columbia, Candid, Atlantic, and his own labels. In the process of providing these in-depth examinations, Jenkins corrects common errors and clears away old misconceptions about certain recordings. His approach will illuminate long-obscure aspects of this imposing and incredibly creative man's contributions to the art of jazz.
Touching upon Mingus's many innovations as a jazzman, "I Know What I Know" explores his advancement of the art of bass playing; his assimilations of Ellington and Monk with ideas leaning toward free jazz; his experiments with ensemble dynamics, instrumentation, and extended form; and his working relationships with partners such as Jaki Byard, Eric Dolphy, Jimmy Knepper, and Dannie Richmond. The book provides a broad, informative overview of Mingus's work without veering into technical musical terminology. Readers without an extensive background in music will thus understand and appreciate the analyses provided, and be able to use them to enhance the experience of listening to the brilliant work of this legendary jazz great.
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