Mingus
Stereophile|February 2022
REVINYLIZATION
FRED KAPLAN

In the annals of jazz, Charles Mingus—bassist, pianist, composer, bandleader, unique, headstrong, and deeply influential in every category—occupies the transit point between Duke Ellington and the post-’60s avant-garde, a station he carved out deliberately. He venerated Ellington—his sophisticated rhythms and tonal colors, but also his attention to melody, harmony, and structure—and went beyond him (careened down a different path) in expressing emotion, chaos, and anger; it’s these elements that the avant-gardists took from him, while abandoning (to a degree that intrigued but also discomforted Mingus) Ellingtonian form. Critic Gary Giddins described Mingus as the “most persistently apocalyptic voice” in jazz—“the best example we have of disciplined turmoil.”

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