365 Days of Album Recommendations – May 8

Charles Mingus – Mingus Ah Um


Once upon a time in jazz, there was a man within whom lived both the blues and the jazz. He was a big man, a man of gargantuan appetites for life, for love, for music, for attention. He believed that everything could be improvised, that structure was a springboard, that you should play from the inside out. He believed he was the equal of Ellington, then cried like a baby in the presence of the master. He went half crazy many times over. He was a truth-mirror that we looked into and saw too much racism, too much poverty, and too little imagination. He believed that jazz should be, could be, would be funky, and soulful, and swinging. He believed jazz told a story.

This man made an album called Mingus Ah Um, and it will live forever as a musical testament to everything this man believed. The man’s name was Charles Mingus. He played bass, and was a performer, composer, and arranger. He was a genius. His name was Charles Mingus.

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