Thursday, July 22, 2010

Charles Mingus

A masterful double bassist and composer, but also a little crazy, Charles Mingus was a great band leader who left a lasting impression on jazz. Mostly he drew on elements of hard-bop, with a great deal of soulful melodies, but also mixing in the classical inclinations of third-stream jazz in his composition style, along with the uh... freedom of free jazz.

In the liner notes to The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady, Mingus praises Miles Davis and John Coltrane for moving past the "bedamnable fourth cycles" (standard chord progressions in nearly all of bebop), and speaks of keeping things simpler with the composition to leave room for the soloists. This kind of idea reminds me very much of many of the avant-garde/free jazz players at the time (Coltrane being one of them), and although Mingus implemented these ideas that seemed unbearable to some, he always remains very listenable; a testament to his compositional prowess I suppose.

The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady
Mingus Ah Um
Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus
Let My Children Hear Music

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