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‘Mingus’: Powerful and heartbreaking documentary portrait of the Jazz giant

“Tuesday, November 22nd, 1966, jazz musician Charlie Mingus waited with his five-year-old daughter Carolyn, to be evicted from his studio at 22 Great Jones Street, New York. Mingus had planned to open a music school and jazz workshop at this Lower East Side loft, but he had been frustrated in his intentions and had fallen behind in the rent.

As he waited for the NYPD and the Sanitation Department to arrive and remove his belongings, filmmaker Thomas Reichman recorded an intimate portrait of one of the jazz music’s greatest composers and performers. In the film, Mingus is seen moving distractedly amongst his boxed possessions, showing great affection for his daughter, recalling happier times living on Fifth Avenue, and acknowledging the inherent racism in America by offering his own Pledge of Allegiance….”

http://dangerousminds.net/comments/mingus_powerful_and_heartbreaking_documentary_portrait_of_the_jazz_giant

MINGUS’S 5-STAR RAPTUROUS DEADLY HOLIDAY EGGNOG!!

MINGUS’S 5-STAR RAPTUROUS DEADLY HOLIDAY EGGNOG!!

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“Mingus’s holiday eggnog was a concoction so delicious and mind-blowing,
you would do anything to make sure that you saw him at Christmas.
Over the phone once, he gave me the recipe.”
– Janet Coleman

With holidays coming up, we decided to share Charles Mingus’s rapturous, if potentially deadly, recipe for Christmas eggnog.  In the interest of simplicity, we offer a slightly more sober rendition than the one provided by Janet Coleman in her book. (If you want the whole run-down, word for word, you can get the original by ordering  ”Mingus/Mingus: Two Memoirs” by Janet Coleman & Al Young, on Amazon.)

There’s plenty of room for improvising!
Happy holidays
– Sue Mingus

1 egg per person
2 sugar cubes per egg
one shot of 151 proof Jamaican rum per person
one shot of brandy (or Bourbon) per person
some milk (amount not specified)
cream (amount not specified)
vanilla ice cream
fresh nutmeg – lots

mix milk & egg yolks in bowl
add rum very very gradually or it will burn eggs
add brandy
add whipped egg whites
add whipped cream
add fresh grated nutmeg
Stir
Add ice cream to keep eggnog cold!

On second thought, after looking at the dull facts above, am including the original below!
(Janet Coleman just wrote:  ”Ha ha — nothing like the ambiguity of the real thing!  I don’t think he wanted anyone else to make as good an eggnog as his!”)

THE REAL THING

* Separate one egg for one person.  Each person gets an egg.
* Two sugars for each egg, each person.
* One shot of rum, one shot of brandy per person.
* Put all the yolks into one big pan, with some milk.
* That’s where the 151 proof rum goes.  Put it in gradually or it’ll burn the eggs,
* OK. The whites are separate and the cream is separate.
* In another pot– depending on how many people– put in one shot of each, rum and brandy. (This is after you whip your whites and your cream.)
* Pour it over the top of the milk and yolks.
* One teaspoon of sugar.  Brandy and rum.
* Actually you mix it all together.
* Yes, a lot of nutmeg.  Fresh nutmeg.  And stir it up.
* You don’t need ice cream unless you’ve got people coming and you need to keep it cold.  Vanilla ice cream.  You can use eggnog.  I use vanilla ice cream.
* Right, taste for flavor.  Bourbon? I use Jamaica Rum in there. Jamaican Rums. Or I’ll put rye in it.  Scotch. It depends.
See, it depends on how drunk I get while I’m tasting it.

–Charles Mingus

Mingus featured in Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street”

Hear Mingus’s composition “Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting” in Martin Scorsese’s latest film “The Wolf of Wall Street” starring Leonardo DiCaprio.  This movie follows the true story of Jordan Belfort from his rise to a wealthy stockbroker living the high life to his fall involving crime, corruption and the federal government.

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Other recent placement of Mingus’s music include:

  • AD:  Nate Berkus for Target — Better Git Hit In Your Soul
  • FILM:  People Like Us (Dreamworks) — Boogie Stop Shuffle
  • FILM:  Regeneration (Green Light) — Haitian Fight Song
  • TV:  Cold Case (Warner Brothers) — Haitian Fight Song
  • TV:  The Good Wife (ABC) — Hora Decubitus sample

 

 

Mingus’ Magnum Opus: ‘Epitaph’ In Concert

Listen to the Hour-Long Radio Special here on NPR Music

From NPR:

July 24, 2008 – As creative chair for jazz at the Los Angeles Philharmonic, bass player Christian McBride gets to program four concerts a year. The moment he got the job, he put Charles Mingus’ monumental, 2 1/2-hour jazz symphony “Epitaph” at the top of his list.

“When you hear Mingus’ music, that’s about as advanced as you can get,” McBride says. “But it’s always rooted — it’s always coming out of that real indigenous black tradition. I’m talking about, like, work songs and gospel, you know, all the way up through Ellington, all the way up through the strife of the ’60s. All of that is in his music.”

Jazz historian and composer Gunther Schuller conducted the entire concert in front of a 31-piece jazz orchestra. He says that Charles Mingus was a man of many moods — and that he sees them in the very fabric of Mingus’ masterpiece.

“I knew him quite well,” Schuller says. “He could be as gentle as a baby, and he could also be so full of tantrums and explosive and angry, and all of this range of feelings is in this piece. It’s all there: It’s like a musical picture of Mingus’ personality — from the most beautiful gentle ballads, lyric pieces, to these extremely chaotic, disorganized, wild pieces.”

By the time “Epitaph” premiered in 1962, Mingus was already well-known as a composer, bandleader, and virtuoso bass player, a musician who had worked with Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, and Duke Ellington, among others. But how Mingus came to write the piece remains something of a mystery.

Gunther Schuller says Mingus probably composed most of the piece over a three-year period in the late ’50s. He scored it for a 31-piece double jazz orchestra, and got an all-star group to play it. But the first performance was a travesty.

“There’s this famous, legendary disastrous concert and recording session in Town Hall [in New York], where I happened to be present,” Schuller says. “And it was one of the most chaotic and frustrating and disastrous concerts that anybody has ever heard, because the music was so difficult and so strange. He hadn’t had a chance to rehearse it properly and the copyists were, indeed, even still copying some of the music –- it wasn’t even fully ready. And so the musicians couldn’t handle it, and so eventually the concert was aborted when the union stage crew said, ‘Wait a minute, it’s midnight, we’ve gotta stop this.'”

Distraught, Mingus never visited the score again in his lifetime. But 10 years after his death in 1979, the score — four feet high and 4,235 measures long — was discovered in a closet in his apartment. Composer and arranger Andrew Homzy reconstructed it, and Schuller conducted the premiere in 1989. According to Schuller, the work was titled “Epitaph,” because a few movements in the score had that word in block letters.

Astonishingly, when the enormous score for “Epitaph” was found, it was missing one thing -– a finale. So Schuller says that he and the band improvised one, using Mingus as a guide.

“I decided, in putting this piece together, that we should do what he did so many times in his own appearances at clubs with his groups –- that is to say, he dictated an ending,” he says. “And he would cue everybody: What they should do and when they play and be hollering and playing on his bass at the same time. And so we did something like that for the entire orchestra.”

Discoveries at Walt Disney Concert Hall is an eclectic mix of concert specials, recorded live at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and hosted by Renee Montagne. From singer-songwriters to classical, world music, and Broadway stars, it’s a celebration of the diversity of our thriving musical culture.