Obscure Music: Charles Mingus

I’ve been working with some upright bass students recently, so I thought we would look at the classic album Mingus Ah Um from bassist and composer Charles Mingus.  A true classic by a great American composer and bassist.  Check it out.

Mingus!

Mingus!

Charles Mingus Jr. (April 22, 1922 – January 5, 1979) was a highly influential American jazz double bassist, composer and bandleader. Mingus’s compositions retained the hot and soulful feel of hard bop and drew heavily from black gospel music while sometimes drawing on elements of Third Stream, free jazz, and classical music. Yet Mingus avoided categorization, forging his own brand of music that fused tradition with unique and unexplored realms of jazz.

Mingus Ah Um

Mingus Ah Um is one of the supreme works of bassist Charles Mingus. Recorded in 1959 on Columbia Records, Mingus Ah Um built upon bebop conventions to create a masterpiece, at times roiling and dissonant, and at times pristinely beautiful.  In the mid 1950s, Mingus began composing and performing with a rotating band he called the “Charles Mingus Jazz Workshop.” Mingus Ah Um marks the height of this ensemble’s accomplishments. Many of the pieces on the album are some of the most recognizable songs in jazz, and their performances are at once highly arranged, and yet loose and seemingly improvised.

Mingus Ah Um

1. Better Git It In Your Soul  00:01
2. Goodbye Pork Pie Hat  07:23
3. Boogie Stop Shuffle  13:05
4. Self-Portrait in Three Colors  18:07
5. Open Letter to Duke  21:17
6. Bird Calls  27:10
7. Fables of Faubus  33:28
8. Pussy Cat Dues  41:42
9. Jelly Roll  50:54
10. Pedal Point Blues  57:12
11. GG Train  1:03:42
12. Girl of My Dreams  1:08:22