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October 05, 1979 - Image 6

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1979-10-05

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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JANE TOM
FONDA HA YDEN
"ECONOMIC DEMOCRACY:
CRITICAL ISSUES IN THE 80's"

Page 6-Friday, October 5, 1979-The Michigan Daily
Bassman' s magic lives on
By LEE LEVINE
I spent last weekend listening to
Charles Mingus albums, interviewing
the Mingus Dynasty Band, and then
reading Miingus's autobiography plus
any other related works I could get my
hands on. And I have suffered a
Mingus-inspired circuit overload. As I
slowly recover from my overdose, the
mystery of the Mingus persona is
beginning to unravel before my very
eyes.
Beneath the Underdog is Mingus's
autobiography. In this book he
describes his huge sexual appetites and
numerous sexual escapades. The book
has much love, anger and fear, but little
music. It is disquieting yet sometimes
joyous like much of his music.
MINGUS WAS raised in the black
ghetto of Watts in Los Angeles, spen-
ding his first thirty years there. He
studied classical cello with H. Rhein-
schagen, formerly of the New York
Philharmonic. He also studied bass
with jazzman Red Callender and the
famous music teacher Lloyd Reese.
As a teenager, Mingus had the oppor-
tunity to play in many varying styles
with such greats as Louis Armstrong

MON, OCT15
7:30 P.M.
HILL AUD.,

TICKETs
ONf SALE N1OWY
2 00at ticket central
in Union

F

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p
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2.50 at door
LECTURES

U-M Office of Major Events presents
WWWW welcomes
EAGLES
ITHE LONG RUN

TOUR

7

9

and Art Tatum, but in the forties he was
strictly Los Angeles bebopper, working
with Lionel Hampton and Charlie
Parker. Mingus started to gain more
exposure when he moved to New York
in 1951.
In New York, he worked in a number
of experimental combos and created
the Jazz Workshop through which he
had great influence on contemporary
jazz. During the sixties, Mingus went
into semi-retirement which included a
brief stay at Belleview Mental Hospital
due to exhaustion and depression.
Mingus, in his book maintains that this
incarceration was an important step in
his finding himself.
IN THE SEVENTIES, he started
working again but toiled in total ob-
scurity. In 1977, urged by record com-
pany eyecutives, Mingus recorded with
contemporary big-name musicians
such as the Brecker Brothers, Sonny
Fortune. and Larry Coryell. The en-
suing album, Three or Four Shades of
Blues was Mingus's biggest selling
album ever; and even got airplay. He
died January 4th, 1974 of Hodgkins
Disease. Since his death, two albums of
note have been released, Me, Myself
and Eye featured many of the
musicians from Three or Four Shades
of Blues, plus Steve Gadd and Lee
Konitz; and Mingus by Joni Mitchell
featured Herbie Hancock, Jaco
Pastorias and Wayne Shorter.
Mingus fought categorization of his
music. Yet it was so unique few really
tried to classify it anyway. Mingus
himself referred to "Mingus music."

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Daily Photo
Charles Mingus

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7iliuotliy B. Scliluit
Two concerts
SATURDAY AND SUNDAY
)CT. 13, 14 Crisler Arena
Tickets $12.50, $10.00, $7.50
at Michigan Union Box Office,
Schoolkids' R ecords, Huckleberry
Party Store, Where House Records,
all Hudson Stores
FOR INFORMA T ION: 763-2071

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SECOND
CHAINCE
995-5350

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' Wk I ~ITY cfMUSICAL SOCIETY p resen t

As previously mentioned, his early
roots were L.A. bebop; but Mingus was
growing and changing. His music
evolved into an amalgam of blues,
swing, gospel, and European classical.
It was a revolutionary form of music
that used as one of its many innovations
accelerating and decelerating tempos
in the same song.
Mingus was fond of saying "as long
as you can feel the beat, you don't have
to keep emphasizing it." He often
utilized simultaneous improvisation
from two, three or even more of his
musicians and he was one of the first to
emphasize playing outside of the chor-
ds. Other Mingus innovations included
the use of shouts and cries as pun-.
ctuation, and an idea he called 'rotary
perception.'
INSTEAD OF playing all the notes on
the center of the beats in the bar at in-
tervals like a ,metronome, Mingus
would emphasize that a note may be
played anywhere inside an imagined
circle surrounding the beat. The note
may fall anywhere inside that circle in
the musician's mind, but the initial
feeling for the beat doesn't change. The
beat becomes internalized with the

'rotary perception' concept giving the
musician a'sense of having more space.
Another major contribution was the
heavy use of the "extended form" com-
position utilizing prolonged chords. In-
stead of writing out even a basic chord
chart, Mingus would sing parts to the
players. He pushed his musicians to
rely on their ears and musical
memories rather than their eyes and in-
tellectual abilities. Thus, Mingus was
able to create a dynamic and emotional
range to the music linked by a thematic
structure.
In this way, Mingus was a teacher to
the many musicians that played for him
or in his workshop. He'd continually
preach "forget the instrument and just
listen to what's inside you and play
that." He used to pride himself on how
he could 'open up' a musician. Mingus
was a believer in incessant rehearsing
even during a gig. He would even stop
the band, and explain the problem to.
the musician, sometimes pushing the
musician aside to play the instrument
to emphasize for example, the proper
voicing of a chord. As drummer Donnie
Richmond said, "there wasn't any .....
in Mingus' bands ... musicians would

always be on their very best."
DESPITE PRIDING himself as a
teacher, Mingus considered himself a
composer first. Dizzie Gillespie felt
Mingus's major contribution was com-
posing. As premier jazz bassist Charle
Haden stated, "Mingus created his oWn
musical language. He dedicated his life
to creative thought and expression."
Mingds was also one of the greatest
musicians to ever utilize the bass. He
was largely responsible for helping to
develop the bass into a major musical
and soloing voice rather than merely'a
timekeeper. Thus it is not unusual tl>at
Mingus had a common source for both
his writing and playing. He was able to
derive much from the fiery, passionate,
and rhythmically liberating sounds and
tongues of the Holiness Church in Wat=
ts.
His writing was often angry; his
pieces often sardonic imputations of
racism such as "Fables of Faubus" and
"Haitian Fight Song". Throughout his
autobiography he is acutely aware of
the prejudices and double standards
that existed for white musicians and.
black musicians. His life was filled with'
incidents that fed the fire of his rage at
bigotry.
Anger and brilliance were the source
of Mingus's idiosyncracies. After the:
Mingus Dynasty performance Saturday-
night, trombonist Jimmy Knepper.
talked of some of Mingus' quirks. He
discussed a 1958 Village Vanguard per,,
formance where Mingus was becoming-
increasingly infuriated at the crowd's;
talking and indifference to.the perfor-
mers. So he had Knepper play with a'
deck of cards, the sax player paint witji-
an easel, the piano player read a book-
and smoke a pipe, and Mingus listened
to a phonograph. Unfortunately, the
audience thought all this was part of the
show and didn't even notice the
musicians. Mingus vowed not to play a:
See MINGUS, Page 7

r

CINEMA II-
presentsY
STAVISKY (Aain Resnais, 1974)
STAVISKY is an exquisite recounting of the climactic days in 1933 in the
career of a con man turned international financier whose ruin results in
political scandal and his own mysterious death. With a screen-play written
by Jorge Semprum of Z, Resnais has made a remarkably elegant film, a
haunting melange of dying dreams and corrupted grace. As Stavisky, a
gentleman among gangsters and a gangster among gentlemen, JEAN-
PAUL BELMONDO is at his best. With CHARLES BOYER and ANNY DU-
PERAY. French. with subtitles. (117 min).
ANGELL HALL 7$1.507:00& 9:10
Tomorrow: THE AMERICAN FRIEND
Applications being taken for new members

yr

Mr

i

EL

CINE

POLITICO

C

4

Prague Chamber Orchestra
Is U - -o

Friday, Oct. 5
4:00 pm
Aud A and
SUN., OCT. 7
8:00 P.M.

Nicaragua: Patria Libre 0 Morir
Fim beings with scenes of Fall 1978 uprising by FSLN-explores history of
ntervention n Nicaragua and role os Sandino-Eden Pastora (Commndantel
Cero) discusses organization and armed struggle-interviews women and men
of FSLN--Ernesto Cardenal celebrates Mass in camp and speaks of the oppressed
and liberation.

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