Mingus, Charles (1922–1979) By Garlitz, Dustin
Charles Mingus (1922–1979) was an American jazz bassist, composer, and bandleader. He held strong social and political views and composed songs on civil rights, such as ‘‘Fables of Faubus,’’ from his modern jazz album Mingus Ah Um (1959), and ‘‘Meditations on Integration’’ (1964). Other compositions of Mingus’s musical modernism include the cool jazz-inspired anthem ‘‘Haitian Fight Song’’ (1957). The bassist first gained a reputation for performing on the cool jazz scene of Los Angeles, California in the postwar 1940s. Mingus would later relocate to New York City in the early 1950s, gaining a reputation as a bandleader who composed, performed, and recorded modern jazz that was distinctly hard bop in some settings, post-bop in other contexts, and contained characteristics of the avant-garde, blues influences, and the music of black church gospels that he was exposed to at an early age.