The Wire

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Adventures In Sound And Music: Charles Mingus: Tales Of The Underdog

Adventures In Sound And Music explores the life, work, complexities and contradictions of bassist and composer Charles Mingus. A mixed race kid born in Arizona, Mingus was a perpetual underdog who suffered from racism from both sides, and whose music touched emotional extremes of love and hate, anger and introspection. No-one made music quite the same way as Mingus, taking improvisation, composition, workshop ideas, folk themes and gospel call and response, and cramming all of them into the dense yet intuitive web of his music.

Philip Clark and host Derek Walmsley discuss Mingus's three decade plus career, which took him to Los Angeles, New York, and through extensive European tours with his Jazz Workshop, the latter of which is the subject of a major new box set, The Jazz Workshop Concerts 1964–65, on Mosaic Records. Music includes his earliest recorded work from the 1940s, collaborations with Eric Dolphy and Duke Ellington, the ambitious but disastrous Town Hall concerts, his work with film maker John Cassavetes, plus his toughest basslines, his tenderest arrangements, songs about hogs and chicken, and more.

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