Charles Mingus
Charles Mingus

Jazz Legend Charles Mingus

Charles Mingus is considered to be one of the most influential jazz musicians ever, and with that said, there are many musical pieces created by him which have become a part of our culture.

However, if you were to ask me my favorite from this big name in the field, I would have to say that it has to be Mingus Ah Um. This album was released on March 27th 1958 and features some of his best songs from this section of his career. But if you’re looking for something a little more recent, then I would say check out Blues and Roots with the song Moanin’ This album was released in 1963 and featured highly talented musicians such as Eric Dolphy and Booker Ervin. The album is a must-have for any jazz aficionado!

Another piece which I would like to bring up is the music he composed for the film Africa, The Serengetti Symphony. This piece featured what I consider to be some of his best songwriting during this period in his career. The album features songs such as Nairobi, Song of the Jungle and Junglescope, which were all written and composed by Mingus.

What was it like to watch Charles Mingus play live?

To be honest, I was never able to see him live. I knew that he usually performed at small jazz clubs, and since I wasn’t living in the States at the time, I didn’t have a chance to go see a show.

However, if you were to ask me about how he performed on film, then I can say that watching him play was quite an experience. Because in his early years, he was quite new to the scene, he did not have all the high-quality equipment that today’s musicians are given. He typically used a small upright bass and a drum kit, and often recorded on film because at the time, recording was a lot cheaper when compared to obtaining high quality recordings via songs.

What is Charles Mingus like as a human being? What about his sense of humor?

I would describe him as very personable and always willing to listen to others’ ideas. He also had a sense of humor, and he was known to tell very interesting and funny stories. In his later years, he was very committed to his music and extremely dedicated to his craft. He was known to spend hours studying classical pieces in order to achieve the sound that he felt they needed.

I really don’t know much about him personally other than the name, Charles Mingus. But I am deeply saddened by the fact that he did not live long enough to receive all the recognition that he deserved during his life because he truly deserves to be remembered as one of jazz’s greats.

What was Charles Mingus most famous for?

I believe that he’s most known for his composition “Epitaph”. This piece was originally written by him as a tribute piece to his friends and fellow jazz musicians who died during this period. Some of the names include John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Eric Dolphy and Duke Ellington.

In addition to the names I mentioned above, he was also known for composing pieces about other things such as civil rights and world peace to name a few. His influences include his father, as well as both Charlie Parker and Duke Ellington. “Epitaph” has been performed and recorded by many notable musicians including Louis Armstrong, Snoop Dogg, The Roots and John Mayer.

How did Charles Mingus change jazz?

I think that he did a lot to pave the way for today’s jazz musicians. For example, he was known for leading a group called “The Jazz Workshop”. This group performed at high-quality venues, such as Carnegie Hall, and earned themselves a reputation in the city of New York.

They were also known for playing music which was progressive, often using loud musical instruments such as percussion. However, all of these aspects of his life were unconventional in comparison to those of other bands. Not only were their instruments loud, but their performances were also very innovative. They were known for presenting music in a more contemporary and refreshing way.

Who are some of the other players that you feel have influenced Charles Mingus’ music?

He was influenced by several different musicians during his career. Some of them include Nat King Cole, Fats Waller, Art Tatum and Erroll Garner to name a few. However, he was also influenced by classical composers such as Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart.

What did Charles Mingus mean to the jazz world?

He was one of a new wave of musicians in jazz who were very progressive and innovative during this time. Some of his contemporaries that were part of that same group included Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk. He was also known for his use of the electric bass guitar, which was very unique back in his day. However, even though he used it in a different way than most musicians did, it has become an integral part of modern jazz.


I will say that the musical legacy left behind by Charles Mingus is probably one of the most important ones that has been left in jazz. Not only did this musician provide music for popular movies, but he also composed some of the most memorable pieces ever. The music he created was so innovative and creative that it inspired many musicians to create their own versions of his original pieces.

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