Charles Mingus changed how I viewed music, the spirit of music and music genres. Like most people, I evaluated one genre or another differently. My early musical life had been in jazz, then later the western classical tradition VS. rock, pop or jazz. Mingus music drew from the past traditions, whether Stravinsky, Strauss, or Jelly Roll Morton, or Black church music, and also what was going on around him at the moment––embracing the whole tradition. He focused on some of his jazz predecessors but also combined genres. I also read of his intense obstacles as a Black musician and bandleader/composer. I wrote about these, about the music he wrote and his commentary about what he saw in the politics and racism of his day, looking over his shoulder while moving into the future.
1) “Mingus in the Act: Confronting the Legacies of Vaudeville and Minstrelsy.” Jazz Perspectives 4, no. 3 (2010): 337–368.
2) “Mingus in the Workshop: Leading the Improvisation From New Orleans to Pentecostal Trance.” Black Music Research Journal 35, no. 1 (Spring 2015): 71–95.