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Mingus Speaks

by John F Goodman and Sy Johnson University of California Press
Pub Date:
Hbk 350 pages
AU$62.00 NZ$63.48
Product Status: In Stock Now
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Charles Mingus is among jazzs greatest composers and perhaps its most talented bass player. He was blunt and outspoken about the place of jazz in music history and American culture, about which performers were the real thing (or not), and much more. These in-depth interviews, conducted several years before Mingus died, capture the composers spirit and voice, revealing how he saw himself as composer and performer, how he viewed his peers and predecessors, how he created his extraordinary music, and how he looked at race. Augmented with interviews and commentary by ten close associatesincluding Minguss wife Sue, Teo Macero, George Wein, and Sy JohnsonMingus Speaks provides a wealth of new perspectives on the musicians life and career. As a writer for Playboy, John F. Goodman reviewed Minguss comeback concert in 1972 and went on to achieve an intimacy with the composer that brings a relaxed and candid tone to the ensuing interviews. Much of what Mingus shares shows him in a new light: his personality, his passions and sense of humor, and his thoughts on music. The conversations are wide-ranging, shedding fresh light on important milestones in Minguss life such as the publication of his memoir, Beneath the Underdog, the famous Tijuana episodes, his relationships, and the jazz business.

List of Illustrations


1. Avant-Garde and Tradition
2. Studying, Teaching, and Earning a Living
3. Recordings: Children and Friends
4. Authenticity: Whose Tribe Are You In?
5. Musicians: Reminiscing in Tempo
6. Debut Records, George Wein, and the Music Business
7. The Clubs and the Mafia
8. The Critics
9. Survival: The Reason for the Blues
10. Eviction and Laying Out
11. Mingus Women
12. Mingus on Sue
13. The Real and the Fictional Mingus


"Goodman is a superb guide to Mingus"
John F. Goodman is a writer, former music critic, professor, and media consultant based in Oaxaca, Mexico

Sy Johnson is a jazz photographer, writer, pianist, singer, educator, and former Mingus arranger