Synopses & Reviews
"I was privileged to be a close friend of the magnetically original composer, bassist, and leader CharlesMingus, whose deeply energizing music has never left me and many, many others around the world. Mingus was singularly absorbing off the stand and now in this historic book Mingus Speaks
, primarily a series of interviews by John Goodman, who as we see is a listener to the music burning to be a soul mate of Charles Mingus as this book proceeds.
The multidimensional inner Mingus who created what he called, not jazzand#151;jazz he said to me once was too limited a descriptionand#151;he created what he called and#145;Mingus music.and#8217; And much of the material here, in the book, has never been available before. For it so reveals and multi-dimensionally explains much of the music, and as long as there is jazz, Mingus speaks for the enthralling listeners around the world andand#151;and I mean thisand#151;as they become his music. A book unlike any Iand#8217;ve seen on the history of jazz.and#8221; and#151;Nat Hentoff, author of At the Jazz Band Ball: Sixty Years on the Jazz Scene
and#147;In words as in music, Mingus could erupt like a geyser speaking in tongues. These interviews let you experience his volatile, high-pressure flow of acute insights and outrageous conjectures.and#8221; and#151;Gene Santoro, author of Myself When I Am Real: The Life and Music of Charles Mingus
"There are many Mingus voices in these interviews: poet, prophet, prolix raconteur, anguished, sometimes angry artist. The early '70s was a dark period in Charles' life and career, a time when he had stopped composing and was trying to find his wayand#151;here through the torrents and thickets of language." and#151;Sue Mingus
"A valuable contribution to 20th century jazz history."
"The book is full of . . . illuminating stories." Santa Fe New Mexican
"Mingus's candid intelligence shines through in these interviews as the discussion ranges through all aspects of jazz, from composition to performance to history and more, and on to matters of American culture, politics, and race. . . . Fans of Mingus will definitely want to get their hands on this book." Library Journal
"What's clear from Goodman's fluid interactions with Mingus is that the bassist trusted him. Consequently, Mingus' thoughts have the ring of honesty about them, even if his versions of certain events were often at odds with the way others perceived them. . . . Goodman extracts plenty of material that will delight Mingus' fans and ignite debate." All About Jazz
"Known for mind-gaming journalists, Mingus is
open, voluble and very funny here, clearly due to his trust for the
interlocutor. . . . Like a tasteful musician, Goodman
lays out until the improvisational repartee calls for him." MOJO Magazine
"Mingus Speaks provides a wealth of new perspectives on the musicians life and career. . . . 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." Jerry Jazz Musician
"Makes for fascinating reading."
Charles Mingus is among jazzand#8217;s 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 composerand#8217;s 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 associatesand#151;including Mingusand#8217;s wife Sue, Teo Macero, George Wein, and Sy Johnsonand#151;Mingus Speaks
provides a wealth of new perspectives on the musicianand#8217;s life and career.
As a writer for Playboy, John F. Goodman reviewed Mingusand#8217;s 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 Mingusand#8217;s life such as the publication of his memoir, Beneath the Underdog, the famous Tijuana episodes, his relationships, and the jazz business.
"In words as in music, Mingus could erupt like a geyser speaking in tongues. These interviews let you experience his volatile, high-pressure flow of acute insights and outrageous conjectures." --Gene Santoro, author of Myself When I Am Real: The Life and Music of Charles Mingus
About the Author
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
Table of Contents
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