Charles Mingus: Introduction of the Stand-up-Bass as a Lead Instrument

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  • Topic: Charles Mingus, Jazz, Dizzy Gillespie
  • Pages : 2 (777 words )
  • Download(s) : 130
  • Published : March 28, 2013
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Charles Mingus, a man who had made many contributions to the jazz world, which had included the introduction of the stand-up-bass as a lead instrument where it normally was used to keep time. He is known for composing the second largest amount of pieces just second to Duke Ellington2. He had mainly focused on collective organization when writing is charts that were similar to old school New Orleans street jazz bands, and his peers had once called him an organizational genius for this. Mingus’s pieces are known to be very temperamental meaning the music would go from very loud at times, to soft soothing sections, which got him the nickname “the angry man of jazz”.

Mingus was born on April 22nd, 1922 and raised in Watts, California to a very religious family1. He had started out his musical career by learning to play the piano from his mother, which led him to playing at his local church1 as his musical wisdom began to expand. For most of his childhood he was only aloud to listen to worship music, seeing how at the time since jazz was viewed as music of the devil due to its association with booze, and drugs. But at times he would sneak away from his studies in religious music and listen to his idol the world renowned Duke Ellington. He made his transition from the piano to the standup bass when he moved to New York and studied with H. Rheinhagen and the principal bassist Lloyd Reese from the New York Philharmonic School1.

Mingus’s music was a mixture of Avant-Garde with an incorporation of Gospel, which left him room for breakthroughs in his music. During the 1940s, when Mingus had made the most progress in his work he had wrote such works that were covered by Lionel Hampton, specifically the album Mingus Fingers. In that album Mingus had used the bass as a lead instrument. People during this time period found it strange that a bass took lead, since it was standard for the bass to keep time, but Mingus revolutionized it with his ability to improvise...
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