Charles Mingus - Jazz Musician, Timeline and Childhood

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Charles Mingus's Personal Details

Charles Mingus was an eminent African-American jazz musician

InformationDetail
BirthdayApril 22, 1922
Died onJanuary 5, 1979
NationalityAmerican
FamousJazz Musician, African American Singers, Black Musicians, Black Singers, Musicians
City/StateArizona
Nick namesThe Angry Man of Jazz
SpousesCanilla Jeane Mingus, Celia Mingus, Susan Ungaro Mingus
Birth PlaceArizona, United States
ReligionAnglican/Episcopalian
GenderMale
FatherSgt. Charles Mingu
MotherHarriet Sophia Mingus, Mamie Carson
Sun SignTaurus
Born inArizona, United States
Famous asJazz Musician
Died at Age56

// Famous Jazz Musician

Charles Mingus's photo

Who is Charles Mingus?

Charles Mingus was one of the most important figures of 20th century American music. He was an eminent jazz musician and his music was impregnated with emotions. Apart from being a musician, he was also a fervent civil rights activist, author, poet and bandleader. During his lifetime, he was known for his typical performances on bass and was also known for his pioneering compositions as a music composer. He was inclined to the frenzied bursts of creativity and devastating misery, which attributed to the works that he composed. They were usually based on the themes of joy, sorrow, anger and anxiety. He rose to fame playing the bebop, through which he went on to create an inimitable blend of gospel, free jazz and classical music. He realized that in order to make it big in the world of music, he would have to move to New York City. Once there, he collaborated with a number of musicians including Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong, Thelonious Monk and Charlie Parker to name a few. After he established himself as a musician, he formed his own publishing and recording companies to guard and promote his large repertoire of works.

// Famous African American Singers

Childhood & Early Life

Charles Mingus Jr. was born in Nogales, Arizona. He is of Chinese-English-American descent and is also believed to be related to Abraham Lincoln through his grandmother.

When he was a young boy, his mother encouraged him to listen to only church music. However, he grew up listening to Duke Ellington and went on to study a number of musical instruments including the cello and the trombone.

In the late 1930s, he studied bass with Red Callender, but had very little means to afford a decent education. Due to his, he could not recite musical notations very quickly and this could not join musical orchestras.

From a very young age, he felt disliked in the world of music and these early experiences of racism were often echoed in his works much later.

In high school, he took up double bass and for five years, he studied with the principle bassist of the New York Philharmonic, Herman Reinshagen. He slowly began to gain recognition as a bass prodigy.

He gained early recognition from 1940 to 1950, when he began recording with a number of artists and played bass for a living with bandleaders such as Russell Jacquet, Howard McGhee, Red Norvo and Charlie Parker.

Career

He learnt that in order to excel in his domain, he would have to settle in the Big Apple. He moved to New York in 1951 and worked as a sideman, performing with other jazz bigwigs such as Miles Davis and Charlie Parker.

In 1952, he co-founded Debut Records with Max Roach. In a few years, he formed an experimental musicians’ group called ‘Jazz Workshop’.

1956 proved to be a breakthrough year for Mingus with the release of ‘Pitecanthropus Erectus’, which is believed to be his major work, both as a composer and an effective bandleader. The next year, he released the album, ‘The Clown’, under Atlantic Records.

In 1959, Mingus and his jazz workshop musicians recorded one of his best-known works, ‘Mingus Ah Um’, which featured archetypal compositions such as ‘Goodbye Pork Pie Hat’ and ‘Fables of Faubes’. The subsequent year, he released ‘Blues & Roots’.

In 1960, he formed a foursome with Richmond, Ted Curson and Eric Dolphy. The same year, the quartet released their only album, ‘Charles Mingus Presents Charles Mingus’.

From 1963 to 1966, he released a number of albums including ‘The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady’, ‘Mingus Plays Piano’ and ‘Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus’. During this time, he also formed a sextet including the musicians, Jaki Byard, Eric Dolphy, Dannie Richmond, Clifford Jordan and Johnny Coles.

In the early 70s, his pace slowed down, but during this period, he recorded two of his most illustrious albums, ‘Changes One’ and ‘Changes Two’.

Towards the end of his life, in 1971, he was a professor for a semester at ‘The State University of New York’. The same year, he also published his autobiography, ‘Beneath the Underdog: His World as composed by Mingus’.

Major Works

His debut record, ‘Pitecanthropus Erectus’, which released in 1956 is largely considered his magnum opus. Even today it is considered, ‘one of the truly great modern jazz albums and it was given a maximum four-star rating by the famous, ‘The Penguin Guide to Jazz’.

Awards & Achievements

In 1971, he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for Music Composition.

He was inducted into the ‘Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame’, in 1971.

He was posthumously awarded a ‘Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award’.

In 1999, his album, ‘Mingus Dynasty’ was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, posthumously.

He was inducted into the ‘Nesuhi Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame’, posthumously, in 2005.

Personal Life & Legacy

Charles Mingus was known for his intense on-stage rage. He is also believed to have had a violent personality.

He married Sue Graham Ungaro in 1966. However, he was married to four other women and claims to have been married to two of them simultaneously.

Apart from his marriages, he was involved in a number of sexual encounters with many women and is believed to have had over 31 affairs in his lifetime.

Towards the final years of his life, he suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. He passed away at the age of 56 in Cuernavaca, Mexico and was cremated. His ashes were scattered in the Ganges River.

Following his death, ‘Epitaph’ one of his masterpieces was released after his death. The concert was organised by his widow, Sue Graham Mingus in 1989.

A number of cover versions of his music has been produced by popular musicians including Chuck D, Keith Richards and Dr. John.

The United States Postal Service issued a stamp in his honor, in 1995. Three years later, ‘Charles Mingus: Triumph of the Underdog’, a documentary on his life, was released.

Trivia

This famous African-American jazz musician was involved with as many as 26 prostitutes in one session.

// Famous Musicians

Charles Mingus biography timelines

  • // 22nd Apr 1922
    Charles Mingus Jr. was born in Nogales, Arizona. He is of Chinese-English-American descent and is also believed to be related to Abraham Lincoln through his grandmother.
  • // 1951
    He learnt that in order to excel in his domain, he would have to settle in the Big Apple. He moved to New York in 1951 and worked as a sideman, performing with other jazz bigwigs such as Miles Davis and Charlie Parker.
  • // 1952
    In 1952, he co-founded Debut Records with Max Roach. In a few years, he formed an experimental musicians’ group called ‘Jazz Workshop’.
  • // 1956
    1956 proved to be a breakthrough year for Mingus with the release of ‘Pitecanthropus Erectus’, which is believed to be his major work, both as a composer and an effective bandleader. The next year, he released the album, ‘The Clown’, under Atlantic Records.
  • // 1959
    In 1959, Mingus and his jazz workshop musicians recorded one of his best-known works, ‘Mingus Ah Um’, which featured archetypal compositions such as ‘Goodbye Pork Pie Hat’ and ‘Fables of Faubes’. The subsequent year, he released ‘Blues & Roots’.
  • // 1960
    In 1960, he formed a foursome with Richmond, Ted Curson and Eric Dolphy. The same year, the quartet released their only album, ‘Charles Mingus Presents Charles Mingus’.
  • // 1963 To 1966
    From 1963 to 1966, he released a number of albums including ‘The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady’, ‘Mingus Plays Piano’ and ‘Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus’. During this time, he also formed a sextet including the musicians, Jaki Byard, Eric Dolphy, Dannie Richmond, Clifford Jordan and Johnny Coles.
  • // 1966
    He married Sue Graham Ungaro in 1966. However, he was married to four other women and claims to have been married to two of them simultaneously.
  • // 1971
    Towards the end of his life, in 1971, he was a professor for a semester at ‘The State University of New York’. The same year, he also published his autobiography, ‘Beneath the Underdog: His World as composed by Mingus’.
  • // 1971
    In 1971, he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for Music Composition.
  • // 1971
    He was inducted into the ‘Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame’, in 1971.
  • // 5th Jan 1979
    Towards the final years of his life, he suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. He passed away at the age of 56 in Cuernavaca, Mexico and was cremated. His ashes were scattered in the Ganges River.

// Famous Black Singers

Charles Mingus's FAQ

  • What is Charles Mingus birthday?

    Charles Mingus was born at 1922-04-22

  • When was Charles Mingus died?

    Charles Mingus was died at 1979-01-05

  • Where was Charles Mingus died?

    Charles Mingus was died in Cuernavaca, Mexico

  • Which age was Charles Mingus died?

    Charles Mingus was died at age 56

  • Where is Charles Mingus's birth place?

    Charles Mingus was born in Arizona, United States

  • What is Charles Mingus nationalities?

    Charles Mingus's nationalities is American

  • What is Charles Mingus nick names?

    Charles Mingus's nickNames is The Angry Man of Jazz

  • Who is Charles Mingus spouses?

    Charles Mingus's spouses is Canilla Jeane Mingus, Celia Mingus, Susan Ungaro Mingus

  • What is Charles Mingus's religion?

    Charles Mingus's religion is Anglican/Episcopalian

  • Who is Charles Mingus's father?

    Charles Mingus's father is Sgt. Charles Mingu

  • Who is Charles Mingus's mother?

    Charles Mingus's mother is Harriet Sophia Mingus, Mamie Carson

  • What is Charles Mingus's sun sign?

    Charles Mingus is Taurus

  • How famous is Charles Mingus?

    Charles Mingus is famouse as Jazz Musician