Charles Mingus is regularly acknowledged as one of the leading names in mid-20th century jazz.
Mastering the upright bass at a young age, he went on the road in the 1940s with a list of accomplished jazzers ranging from Louis Armstrong to Lionel Hampton. By the early 1950s, he’d moved to New York, where his reputation as both a player and a writer grew during stints with the bands of Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Bud Powell.
The 1956 release of 'Pithecanthropus Erectus' on Atlantic was the first of a series of recordings exploring the range of free jazz, a relatively new form featuring fast-shifting rhythms and unique harmonies. While Mingus hit a creative lull in the 1960s, when music and culture underwent a seismic shift, he came back with a vengeance in the mid-1970s, introducing a new young quintet and a more mature take on free jazz, including the influence of global music.
His music became even more powerful following his death in the late 1970s as a dedicated repertory group became the acclaimed Mingus Big Band, performing his classic works all over the world. Additionally, several box sets have been released chronicling his prolific and challenging body of work.
Spirit creatives are exploring multiple avenues to promote Mingus’s library, from inspiring young jazz artists to respectfully interpret Mingus pieces, to coordinating new compilation and tribute CDs, to licensing his work into appropriate film, television, advertising, and new media projects.