Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Charlie Mingus: Better Git It In Your Soul

This month I'm going to focus on the life and music of Charlie Mingus whom, once again, has hit me hard in my soul. It's a new awakening for me, going back to Charlie after years of deep appreciation and getting old with the records like Black saint and the sinner lady. Now he is reincarnated in the most gigantic figure I can imagine . To me now after years of constant work and diggin' jazz, Charlie Mingus the band leader and ensemble player, Charlie the bassist, Charlie the composer, Charlie the arranger and Charlie "the shouter" have become one big picture. All those faces and layers have become one, and producing something that more than ear or heart is going to be heard by soul, yes as the old man said himself: "BETTER GIT IT IN YOUR SOUL". He is the man I can spend all my days and nights with his records that now can be valuated as some of the greatest artistic creations in any kind of art, in any time or period. Most of my concentration will be on Mingus '59. A critical year with three back to back masterpieces of long play jazz record, Blues & Roots, Mingus Dynasty and Mingus, Ah Um. Later I'll try to discuss why these three different records are nothing but one piece, one idea and one task in three outwardly different shapes, as a matter of fact one thing in heart and soul.

Another thing about Charlie that fascinates me is the anti-establishment attitude he had picked. As an Iranian, in a critical time for my country, it has become a key factor in understanding Mingus's music. We're talking about the "dignity" of being an outsider and behaving like one. His anti-establishment views and endless arguments with promoters and onstage comments, beside his musical persona, is showing a way to me. A way as pure and as humanist as his music. -- Ehsan Khoshbakht


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