Mingus, a Critical Biography
It would be no exaggeration to call Charles Mingus the greatest bass player in the history of jazz; indeed, some might even regard it as understatement, for the hurricane power of his work as a composer, teacher, band leader, and iconoclast reached far beyond jazz while remaining true to its heritage in the music of Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, and Thelonious Monk. In this new biography Brian Priestley has written a masterly study of Mingus’s dynamic career from the early years in Swing, to the escapades of the Bebop era, through his musical maturity in the ’50s when he directed a band that redefined collective improvisation in jazz. Woven in with exacting assessments of Mingus’s artistic legacy is the story of his volatile, unpredictable, sometimes dangerous personality. The book views Mingus as a black artist increasingly politicized by his situation, but also unreliable as a witness to his own persecution. Capturing him in all his furious contradictions—passionate, cool, revolutionary but with a keen sense of tradition—Brian Priestley has produced what can be called, again without exaggeration, the best biography of a jazz musician we have ever seen.
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album alto Angeles Artists Atlantic audience August bars bass bassist Beat Beneath the Underdog big band Billy Birdland Black Saint Booker Ervin Britt Woodman Broadcast Bud Powell Buddy Collette Celia cello Charles McPherson Charles Mingus Charlie Parker chord chorus Columbia composition concert Dannie Richmond Debut Dizzy drummer Duke Ellington ensemble Eric Dolphy fact Festival film Five Spot Gillespie going heard improvisation Interview with Russell Jaki Byard January Jazz Jazz Workshop Jimmy Knepper John Jones later Lionel Hampton Love Max Roach melody Mingus's Mingus's music months mood musicians Nat Hentoff Newport night Note op.cit orchestra out-of-tempo overdubbed performance period pianist piano piece Pithecanthropus player playing quartet quintet Quoted by Nat record replaced rhythm Russell Davies September session sextet solo soloist sound studio Teddy Charles Teo Macero theme thing Tijuana tour trio trombone trumpet unissued wanted week York City