Mingus, Charles

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Mingus, Charles Gender: M
Charles Mingus, Jr.
born on 22 April 1922 at 21:30 (= 9:30 PM )
Place Nogales, Arizona, 31n20, 110w56
Timezone MST h7w (is standard time)
Data source
BC/BR in hand
Rodden Rating AA
Collector: Scholfield
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_taucol.18.gif 02°14' s_mo.18.gif s_piscol.18.gif 17°35 Asc.s_sagcol.18.gif 05°17'

Charles Mingus
photo: Tom Marcello Webster, New York, USA, license cc-by-sa-2.0


American jazz musician, bandleader, composer, genius and legend who elevated bass into a solo melodic instrument. Distinguished and colorful, he was a virtuoso on both piano and bass and the man and his music were considered "surprising and unexpected," in the words of his widow, Sue Graham Mingus. Mingus' bands were training camps for jazz players. As a writer, Mingus is often ranked with Duke Ellington and he incorporated European classical techniques with deep-rooted gospel and blues influences.

Mingus was a year old when his family moved to Los Angeles, settling in the Watts area. His mom died when he was an infant and his dad, a retired Army sergeant, remarried soon after. His two older sisters both received musical training, and his later-born stepbrother was a guitarist. When the boy was about six, he was given a trombone, and he and his sisters gave musical recitals at the Methodist church. Mingus joined a high school jazz band, which included such future jazz stars as Buddy Collette, who recommended that Mingus take up the bass. He studied the instrument for five years. At 19, he composed "Half-Mast Inhibition," an orchestral work thought to be avant-garde even then.

Mingus began his professional career about 1940, first considered a professional within "the circle," the group of musicians that included Louis Armstrong and Lionel Hampton. He played with Lee Young from 1941-1943, before the latter joined Louis Armstrong. He spent 1946-1948 with Kid Ory, Alvino Rey and Lionel Hampton, with whom he made his recording debut in a bebop album released in 1947 that included his composition, "Mingus Fingers." In the late 1940's, he made the recording "Jazz at Massey Hall" with other jazz greats. After appearing with the Red Norvo trio in 1950-1951, Mingus temporarily quit music, settled in New York City, and went to work for the post office. It was Charlie "Bird" Parker who persuaded him in December 1951 to return to music, and especially to writing.

Mingus appeared with the Billy Taylor trio in 1952-1953. In 1953, he tied for the New Star award in "Down Beat's" critics' poll and helped to organize and record an all-star be-bop concert at Massey Hall featuring himself and other artists. In 1952, Mingus and Max Roach had started their own recording company, the now defunct Debut Records. By 1956, he had a greater foundation as a composer. In 1957, he was commissioned by Brandeis University to write a jazz composition, "Revelations," for its fourth Festival of the Creative Arts.

In the summer of 1960, Mingus, with others, broke away from the Newport (Rhode Island) Jazz Festival in which he'd been scheduled to appear, protesting commercialism and catering to mass tastes. He and the others set up a rival festival at nearby Cliff Walk Manor, and an LP album, "Newport Rebels," resulted from that effort.

After several years of self-imposed retirement, Mingus appeared at the Village Vanguard in New York City on 17 June 1969, in excellent form. Among Mingus' most popular albums are "Charles Mingus presents Charles Mingus," "Mingus Ah Um," and "Mingus Plays Piano." His own favorite, recorded in 1957, but not released until 1962, is "Tijuana Moods."

Early in his career, Mingus appeared in the movies "Road to Zanzibar," 1941, and "Higher and Higher," 1943. He later wrote the score for John Cassavetes' film "Shadows," 1960. He wrote, with Dave Brubeck, the music for "All Night Long," a British film about jazz musicians based on "Othello." In 1968, he was the subject of a documentary, "Mingus." He has also appeared on television, and his book, "Beneath the Underdog," was published in May 1971. Raised in an atmosphere of racial bigotry, Mingus was a resentful and angry man who nonetheless, tested as having a genius IQ.

Mingus reportedly was married and divorced three times, and had a total of six kids.

He died of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease) on 5 January 1979, Cuernavaca, Mexico.

Link to Wikipedia biography


  • associate relationship with Collette, Buddy (born 6 August 1921). Notes: Music collaborators
  • associate relationship with Dolphy, Eric (born 20 June 1928)
  • associate relationship with Hamilton, Chico (born 20 September 1921). Notes: Music collaborators
  • associate relationship with Hammer, Bob (born 3 March 1930). Notes: Music collaborators
  • associate relationship with Handy, John (born 3 February 1933). Notes: music partnership
  • associate relationship with Haynes, Roy (born 13 March 1925)
  • associate relationship with Kelso, Jackie (born 27 February 1922). Notes: Music collaborators
  • associate relationship with Knepper, Jimmy (born 22 November 1927). Notes: Music collaborators
  • associate relationship with Mitchell, Joni (born 7 November 1943). Notes: One-time musical collaborators
  • associate relationship with Patchen, Kenneth (born 13 December 1910). Notes: Artistic collaborators
  • associate relationship with Powell, Bud (born 27 September 1924)
  • associate relationship with Williams, Richard (born 4 May 1931). Notes: music partnership
  • associate relationship with Woodman, Britt (born 4 June 1920). Notes: Music collaborators
  • associate relationship with Wright, Leo (born 14 December 1933). Notes: music partnership


  • Work : New Career 1940 (Began as a professional musician)
  • Social : Joined group 1941 (Played with Lee Young)
  • Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 1947 (Debut album)
  • Social : Joined group 1950 (Joined the Red Novo group)
  • Work : New Job 1951 (Post office for short period)
  • Work : Start Business 1952 (Co-founded record company)
  • Work : New Career 1956 (Working as a composer)
  • Work : Begin Major Project 1957 (Commissioned by the Brandeis University)
  • Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 17 June 1969 (Reappeared after self-imposed retirement)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released May 1971 (Released autobiography)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Death by Disease 5 January 1979 (Age 56, Lou Gehrig's disease)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.

Source Notes

David Fisher quotes Paul Wright from "Mingus, A Critical Biography," 1982. Wright gave Watts, CA, however Nogales, AZ is given in "The Book of Who," "New Grove Dictionary of Music," and in "The Encyclopedia of Jazz" by Leonard Feather and Ira Gitler, 1976.

Stephen Przybylowski quotes B.C. by phone 8/2001, same data, Nogales. Sy Scholfield provided birth certificate found online in AZ records [1], [2].


  • Traits : Mind : I.Q. high/ Mensa level (Mensa level)
  • Diagnoses : Major Diseases : Lou Gehrig's disease
  • Family : Childhood : Family traumatic event (Mom died when he was an infant)
  • Family : Childhood : Order of birth (Third of four)
  • Family : Childhood : Sibling circumstances (Siblings into music also)
  • Family : Relationship : Number of Divorces (Three)
  • Family : Relationship : Number of Marriages (Three)
  • Family : Parenting : Kids more than 3 (Six)
  • Vocation : Entertain/Music : Composer/ Arranger
  • Vocation : Entertain/Music : Conductor
  • Vocation : Entertain/Music : Instrumentalist (Bass and piano)
  • Vocation : Writers : Autobiographer
  • Notable : Famous : Top 5% of Profession
  • Notable : Book Collection : Culture Collection