Friday, February 18, 2011

Mingus Ah Um

So I was hopping around reading the different blogfest responses on Wednesday, and a few things stood out to me. For one, you guys are a bunch of pottymouths! Haha, just kidding. I think I saw just as many creative obscenity-substitutes as I did references to the f-word. But there were a few other things that I noticed. Many of you never want to work in the medical profession. Many of you enjoy the sounds of nature. And although I didn't get a chance to read all the blogs, in those that I did, I don't think I ever saw a favorite word repeated anywhere. Delightful!

The thing that stood out the most, though, is that many writers are turned on creatively by music. I've written a post on this before, but today it got me thinking about the history of music in my life.

Growing up, I had a mother who played us mostly classical music, and a father who played almost exclusively the Beatles. I think I could sing just about any Beatles song you name, even the most obscure ones. When I got to high school, two things happened: Nirvana had just hit the scene, and my family got cable. For four years, I lived and breathed grunge music on MTV. By graduation I had some new hippy friends, so I showed up for college wearing tie-dye and listening to Phish and the Grateful Dead. Oh, the joyful/embarrassing stage of trying to figure out who you are.

In high school, I had played piano in the jazz band, and so freshman year at Central I took History of Jazz to fill an elective, and soon my cd shelves filled up with jazz artists. I haven't listened to most of these in a while, but I still love jazz. One of my favorite artists is Charles Mingus.

Charles Mingus was a musician and composer who produced most of his work from the 50s to the 70s. His music was influenced strongly by gospel and the hard bop of the 50s, as well as classical music. He was known as a master of the double bass, although he was a talented piano player as well. He was a physically large guy and apparently had a violent onstage temper, and like many jazz musicians, he died fairly young. "Better Git It In Your Soul" is one of my favorite songs of his, so I'm going to share it below. Hope you enjoy!


  1. Someone else who actually knows who Charles Mingus is? I'm delighted!

  2. I knew there had to be at least one person out there who would recognize the name in my title! :)

  3. I'm a big fan of Charles Mingus. Great to hear you're a jazz pianist!

  4. I played in the jazz band, too! Always wanted to learn piano, but I'm not so sure I'm good at the dual hands thing.

  5. Ah, it's been so long since I played the piano... I need a lot of practice. Someday!