Charles Mingus (1922-1979)



Bassist to Bandleader

Donald Macleod is joined by biographer Brian Priestley to look at how Charles Mingus progressed from being a leading double bass player, working with great names of 20th century jazz such as Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis and Art Tatum, to realising his ambitions as a composer, and how, from the beginning, he acquired a reputation for being 'bullish'.

Better Git It In Yo' Soul

John Handy (alto saxophone)

Booker Ervin

Shafi Hadi (tenor saxophone)

Jimmy Knepper (trombone)

Horace Parlan (piano)

Charles Mingus (double bass)

Dannie Richmond (drums)

Sony SMM 517120 2 Tr 1

Half-Mast Inhibition

Charles Mingus (bass) and orchestra

Polygram/EmArcy Records 826 496-2 Tr 8

Mingus Fingers

Lionel Hampton and his orchestra

MCA GRP 16252 Tr 18

Inspiration - Parts 1 and 2

Charlie Mingus and his 22 piece Bebop Band

Art Pepper (alto saxophone)

Buddy Childers (trumpet)

Proper P1406 Tr 4


Charles Mingus Octet with Janet Thurlow (vocal)

Proper P1408 Tr 18

Getting Together

John LaPorta (clarinet)

Teo Macero (tenor saxophone)

George Barrow (baritone saxophone)

Mal Waldron (piano)

Charlie Mingus (double bass)

Rudy Nichols (drums)

LP: LTZ-C15058 Tr 12

Pithecanthropus Erectus

Jackie McLean (alto saxophone)

JR Monterose (tenor saxophone)

Willie Jones (drums)

Atlantic 7814562 Tr 1


Charles Mingus (1922-1979)


This Is Almost My Time (1957-1959)

Donald Macleod and Brian Priestley explore Mingus' music of the late 1950s, looking at the factors affecting his composing, from gospel influences to his working relationships with his bandmates.

While some of these collaborations were successful and enduring, others ended in violence.

Haitian Fight Song

The Charles Mingus Jazz Workshop

Rhino 7567901422 Tr 1

Ysabel's Table Dance

Charles Mingus (double bass)

Jimmy Knepper (trombone)

Ysabel Morel (castanets/vocals)

Curtis Porter (alto saxophone)

Clarence Shaw (trumpet)

Bill Triglia (piano)

Danny Richmond (drums)

Bluebird ND 85644 Tr 2

Scenes In The City

Shafi Hadi (alto and tenor saxophone)

Bob Hammer (piano)

Dannie Richmond (drums)

Charly 19 AAD Tr 7

Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting

Jackie McLean, John Handy (alto saxophone)

Booker Ervin (tenor saxophone)

Pepper Adams (baritone saxophone)

Jimmy Knepper, Willie Dennis (trombone)

Horace Parlan (piano)

Atlantic 781 336-2 Tr 1


Atlantic 781 336-2 Tr 3



Black Saint and the Sinner Lady

Donald Macleod and Brian Priestley explore Mingus' celebrated Black Saint and the Sinner Lady, which was completed in the wake of a disastrous retrospective concert at the Town Hall in New York in 1960.

I Can't Get Started

Charles Mingus (piano)

Impulse LP IMPL 8048 Side 1 Tr 2

Epitaph Part 2

Charles Mingus and orchestra including Ernie Royal (trumpet)

Quentin Jackson (trombone)

Dannie Richmond (timpani)

Blue Note CDP 7243 8 28353 2 5 Tr 6

Charles Mingus and orchestra including Jaki Byard (piano)

Charlie Mariano (alto saxophone)

Jerome Richardson (soprano/baritone saxophone)

Jay Berliner (acoustic guitar)

IMPULSE IMP 11742 Tr 1-4

03Bird And Other Influences20081001

Donald Macleod and Brian Priestley explore the works Mingus wrote as the 1960s began, including several jazz portraits which pay tribute to those who influenced him, such as Duke Ellington and Charlie Parker, as well as pieces reacting to the American civil rights struggle.

Jelly Roll

Jimmy Knepper (trombone)

John Handy (saxophone)

Horace Parlan (piano)

Booker Ervin (saxophone)

Charles Mingus (bass)

Dannie Richmond (drums)

Mingus Ah Um CBS 450436 2 tr 9

Goodbye Pork Pie Hat

Charles Mingus (double bass)

Virgin 7243 8 42059 2 8 CD 3 Tr 9

Gunslinging Bird

Solos by John Handy (saxophone)

Roland Hanna (piano)

Richard Williams (muted trumpet)

CBS 460822 2 Tr 3

Open Letter to Duke

John Handy, Booker Ervin, Shafi Hadi (saxophone)

Willie Dennis (trombone)

Mingus Ah Um CBS 450436 2 Tr 5

Original Faubus Fables

Eric Dolphy (alto saxophone)

Ted Curson (trumpet)

Candid CD 9005 Tr 2

Meditations (excerpt)

Eric Dolphy (flute/bass clarinet)

Clifford Jordan (tenor saxophone)

Johnny Coles (trumpet)

Jaki Byard (piano)

Cornell 1964 Blue Note CD 1 Tr 1

Passions Of A Man

Charles Mingus (piano/voices)

Roland Kirk (flute/siren)

Booker Ervin (tenor saxophone)

Doug Watkins (double bass)

Dannie Richmond (percussion)

Atlantic Jazz 7567 90667 2 Tr 7

05 LASTEpitaph (1965-1979)20081003

Donald Macleod and biographer Brian Priestley chart Mingus's final years, by which time he had managed to achieve a resurgence and official recognition following some very dark times in the mid-1960s when he faced eviction and poverty.

Don't Let It Happen Here

Charles Mingus (piano, bass, speech) with orchestra including Jimmy Owens (trumpet)

Sue Mingus Music 984 275-9 Tr 8

Don't Be Afraid, The Clown's Afraid Too

Ensemble including Snooky Young (high-register trumpet)

Charles McPherson/Bobby Jones (saxophone)

Lonnie Hillyer (trumpet)

LP: CBS 64715 side 1 Tr 3

Sue's Changes

Charles Mingus (double bass)

George Adams (tenor saxophone)

Jack Walrath (trumpet)

Don Pullen (piano)

Dannie Richmond (drums)

Rhino 8122714032 Tr 2

Epitaph: Ballad (In Other Words, I Am Three)

Ensemble including Randy Brecker (trumpet)

Bobby Watson (alto saxophone)

Wynton Marsalis (muted trumpet)

Gunther Schuller (conductor)

CBS 4666312 CD 2 Tr 5