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Celebrating The Birthday Of Charles Mingus

This week on 12th Street Jump we celebrate the birthday of Charles Mingus with our special guests Steve Lambert and Clint Ashlock. On the funny side of things, Dr. Pearl prescribes some straight advice to some crooked thinking and we attend “Serena’s School For Scat”, an established institution of the jazz language.



Charles Mingus "The Angry Man of Jazz" was a virtuoso bass player, pianist, composer and band leader.

Because of his brilliant writing for mid-size ensembles—and his catering to and emphasizing the strengths of the musicians in his groups—Mingus is often considered the heir of Duke Ellington, for whom he expressed great admiration. Indeed, Dizzy Gillespie had once claimed Mingus reminded him "of a young Duke", citing their shared "organizational genius."[2]

Mingus was well respected for his musical talents but sometimes feared for his occasional violent onstage temper. Again from Wikipedia:

When confronted with a nightclub audience talking and clinking ice in their glasses while he performed, Mingus stopped his band and loudly chastised the audience, stating "Isaac Stern doesn't have to put up with this shit."[25] Mingus reportedly destroyed a $20,000 bass in response to audienceheckling at New York's Five Spot.[26]

Charles music lives on as performed by the Mingus Big Band. The band plays every Monday at Jazz Standard in New York City.

Song List:

Living Without You

Goodbye Porkpie Hat

Reincarnation Of A Lovebird

Love For Sale

Fables Of Faubus

Remember Rockefeller At Attica

Nostalgia At Times Square


Chris Prewitt is the Director of Technology and Broadcast Operations for KCUR 89.3. Email him at chris@kcur.org.
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