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Mingus/Mingus: Two Memoirs (Limelight) Paperback


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Mingus/Mingus: Two Memoirs (Limelight) + Tonight At Noon: A Love Story + Mingus: A Critical Biography (Da Capo Paperback)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 164 pages
  • Publisher: Limelight Editions (August 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879101490
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879101497
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,430,138 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

A double-barreled memoir from two writers who were befriended by Charles Mingus during the late 1950s. Both Coleman and Young revered the composer, who (in Coleman's words) "viewed music as an elixir, an antidote to the poison, [and] a religious calling." But they're not too reverent to overlook Mingus's eccentricities, which included hitting the streets of New York with a bow, a quiver, and a suitcase full of extra arrows. This is a funny, touching, and instructive book. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Freelance writer Coleman and prolific author Young ( Sitting Pretty , etc.), both devotees of Charles Mingus (1922-1979), here present an unconventional, nonchronological, anecdotal, impressionistic account of the personality and contributions of the great jazz bassist and composer. They met him in 1960 when they were students at the University of Michigan, and for the next 20 years, until Mingus died in Mexico, their lives and his were inextricably joined. Captivated by the violent musician--"the Marlon Brando and the Laurence Olivier of Jazz"--whose over-indulgence and self-destruction were balanced by a gentle generosity, Coleman and Young reveal a vibrant, wonderfully complex man who expanded traditional jazz forms, encouraged improvisation, established the first jazz musicians' cooperative and was an impassioned, outspoken foe of racism. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By M. Allen Greenbaum HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on March 17, 2001
Format: Paperback
Janet Coleman and Al Young were University of Michigan English graduate students when they met Charles MINGUS in the late 1950's. In this slim volume, each writes separate but intertwined memoirs about their relationship as friend, editor, and fan with the great bassist/composer/bandleader. Their memories are fond, warm, personal, and humorous; their affection and something like awe are evident throughout the book.
This was the period of such Mingus works as "Pithecanthropus Erectus" and "Ah Um." Both Coleman and Young followed Mingus to New York City, where at clubs like the Bohemia, Mingus' "Jazz Workshops" (people pay to hear us practice), musicians such as Jacki Byard, Dannie Richmond, Jimmy Knepper, Jackie McLean followed Mingus' spontaneously combusting arrangements. We get a glimpse of Mingus the musician, the writer, and general connoisseur of life. As Coleman puts it, I knew Mingus during "his Shotgun, Bicycle, Camera, Witchcraft, Cuban Cigar, and Juice Bar periods, and was familiar with his Afro, Egyptian, English banker, Abercrombie and Fitch, Sanford and Son, and ski bunny costumes. I ate his chicken and dumplings, kidneys and brandy, popcorn and garlic . . . " There are several good clues to the puzzle of Mingus' autobiography "Beneath the Underdog," a work which Coleman, among others, helped edit. I recommend reading "Mingus/Mingus" before tackling his Joycean autobiography.
We also see the political Mingus, rightly protesting the treatment of black musicians, as well as racism and militarism generally.
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