Saturday, March 12, 2011

Charles Mingus Interview (by Nesuhi Ertegun)



"His legacy is complex, and yet universal. His passion for the jazz past of Ellington and Jelly Roll Morton prefigured the revivalism of  today, even though he might have sneered at it; his insistence on instrumental excellence is followed in the high standards of execution which have become a norm among young players. His berating of inattentive audiences looks forward  to a state where jazz is respected as art-music, yet the noisy, turbulent feel of all his bands ask listeners to participate in a communal, unstuffy exhilaration." He is Charles Mingus, as described by Richard Cook in his prominent Jazz Encyclopedia.

Previously I did some posts, in Farsi and English, on Mingus. I was always waiting for an excuse to publish an interview here which I know nothing about. The only fact is that it existed for a couple of years in my small archive, along with some other interviews, and all of them inherited to me from my uncle. This interview must be from 1963, because they're discussing the "recent release" of Charles Mingus Plays Piano.  Any information regarding this interview is very welcomed.

PS [13th March]:
Thanks to Sue Mingus, now we know that interviewer is Nesuhi Ertegun of Atlantic Records.

15 comments:

  1. Certainly the most comfortable and conversational interview with Mingus that I've heard - sounds like the interviewer is a New Yorker and in the industry - could be someone like Feather or Dorn or Dorn's dj buddy whose name I can't remember just now

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  2. Thanks for posting this...Great blog you have. Will pass this along to my poet and musician friends. Mingus has had an influence on us all..even those who won't admit it. Peace.

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    1. Thanks Dennis...and peace to you and your artist friends.

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    1. OH YEAH was recorded in 1961, two years prior to MINGUS PLAYS PIANO, and Mingus plays only piano on that record (and sings) while Doug Watkins plays bass.

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    2. Thanks Rainer! Probably it has been issued on some very special editions of that album, because, for instance my CD of Oh Yeah!, doesn't have it. And also considering its duration (more than 20 mins), and the additional tracks in new reissues it would be difficult to include this, too. Anyway, my version, shared here, is recorded from a radio broadcast.

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  4. Sure. Towards the end of the interview, we hear Mingus refer to the interviewer as "Nes" (around 18:30), and he begins talking about the songs from OH YEAH, such as Ecclusiastics, so I think this was clearly recorded for/after that session, and not for the MINGUS PLAYS PIANO record, which is a beautiful record too.

    There are so many different versions of jazz records on cd that I'm not surprised you have one that doesn't include the interview. Remaster after remaster. But it's definitely included on one version. Here is info:

    http://mingus.onttonen.info/details/atlantic/90667.html

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    1. Also if you know any other Mingus interviews, available on reissued CDs, let me know please.

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  6. Some exceptional jazz material here by the way (photos, interviews, album covers):

    http://onedownoneup.tumblr.com

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    1. Beautifully designed. Need to check the contents later.

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  7. Hi Ehsan! Thanks for posting this resource! I'm looking for some other live Mingus interviews (ideally original stuff) for a podcast. Any ideas on where I should look? Thanks!

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    1. Hi! I can't think of any other taped interviews, I'm afraid.

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  8. Hello sir - would a reupload be possible? I am a Mingus scholar

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