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Mingus: A Critical Biography

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It would be no exaggeration to call Charles Mingus the greatest bass player in the history of jazz; indeed, some might even regard it as understatement, for the hurricane power of his work as a composer, teacher, band leader, and iconoclast reached far beyond jazz while remaining true to its heritage in the music of Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, and Thelonious Monk. In t It would be no exaggeration to call Charles Mingus the greatest bass player in the history of jazz; indeed, some might even regard it as understatement, for the hurricane power of his work as a composer, teacher, band leader, and iconoclast reached far beyond jazz while remaining true to its heritage in the music of Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, and Thelonious Monk. In this new biography Brian Priestley has written a masterly study of Mingus's dynamic career from the early years in Swing, to the escapades of the Bebop era, through his musical maturity in the '50s when he directed a band that redefined collective improvisation in jazz. Woven in with exacting assessments of Mingus's artistic legacy is the story of his volatile, unpredictable, sometimes dangerous personality. The book views Mingus as a black artist increasingly politicized by his situation, but also unreliable as a witness to his own persecution. Capturing him in all his furious contradictions-passionate, cool, revolutionary but with a keen sense of tradition-Brian Priestley has produced what can be called, again without exaggeration, the best biography of a jazz musician we have ever seen.


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It would be no exaggeration to call Charles Mingus the greatest bass player in the history of jazz; indeed, some might even regard it as understatement, for the hurricane power of his work as a composer, teacher, band leader, and iconoclast reached far beyond jazz while remaining true to its heritage in the music of Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, and Thelonious Monk. In t It would be no exaggeration to call Charles Mingus the greatest bass player in the history of jazz; indeed, some might even regard it as understatement, for the hurricane power of his work as a composer, teacher, band leader, and iconoclast reached far beyond jazz while remaining true to its heritage in the music of Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, and Thelonious Monk. In this new biography Brian Priestley has written a masterly study of Mingus's dynamic career from the early years in Swing, to the escapades of the Bebop era, through his musical maturity in the '50s when he directed a band that redefined collective improvisation in jazz. Woven in with exacting assessments of Mingus's artistic legacy is the story of his volatile, unpredictable, sometimes dangerous personality. The book views Mingus as a black artist increasingly politicized by his situation, but also unreliable as a witness to his own persecution. Capturing him in all his furious contradictions-passionate, cool, revolutionary but with a keen sense of tradition-Brian Priestley has produced what can be called, again without exaggeration, the best biography of a jazz musician we have ever seen.

30 review for Mingus: A Critical Biography

  1. 5 out of 5

    k

    I enjoyed reading this book but wished I had read "Beneath the Underdog" before I read this. This delved more into the meanings and roots of his compositions while also drawing a lot from Beneath the Underdog to talk about his life. I enjoyed reading this book but wished I had read "Beneath the Underdog" before I read this. This delved more into the meanings and roots of his compositions while also drawing a lot from Beneath the Underdog to talk about his life.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jon Mahon

  3. 4 out of 5

    Emily

  4. 5 out of 5

    Nicola Balestri

  5. 5 out of 5

    J Demedeiros

  6. 5 out of 5

    L.Vaughn

  7. 5 out of 5

    Drew

  8. 4 out of 5

    Martin

  9. 4 out of 5

    Hvg

  10. 4 out of 5

    David

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jon

  12. 4 out of 5

    Russell

  13. 5 out of 5

    dv

    Best book on Mingus music.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Pemberton

  15. 4 out of 5

    Pedro

  16. 4 out of 5

    Shannon Marckx

  17. 4 out of 5

    Chris

  18. 4 out of 5

    Corey

  19. 4 out of 5

    Caleb

  20. 4 out of 5

    jmm kazi

  21. 5 out of 5

    Marcroman

  22. 4 out of 5

    Brent

  23. 5 out of 5

    Will Manville

  24. 5 out of 5

    NaClO

  25. 5 out of 5

    James McGovern

  26. 4 out of 5

    David

  27. 4 out of 5

    Josh

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Williams

  29. 5 out of 5

    Luis

  30. 4 out of 5

    Liam

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