An early interest in classical music and Duke Ellington informed Charles Mingus’ densely layered approach to modern harmony. Viewing musical progress as a symbol of racial progress, the bassist-composer designed his bands to embody the power and spark that characterized the civil-rights movement. His Jazz Workshops and his own Debut Records (with Max Roach) further reinforced the conviction that he would not wait for support from the establishment. Brilliant, mercurial and intense, Mingus created some of the last century’s deepest and wildest music, while advancing the visibility of Eric Dolphy, James Moody, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Jaki Byard and more.

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