On this day, we remember Charles Mingus, who passed away43 years ago due to complications of ALS. As we enter the 100th year of Mingus’s birth, we will not forget his impact.
From Joni Mitchell’s liner notes to the album “Mingus”:
“Charles Mingus, a musical mystic, died in Mexico, January 5, 1979, at the age of 56. He was cremated the next day. That same day 56 sperm whales beached themselves on the Mexican coastline and were removed by fire. These are the coincidences that thrill my imagination.
Sue, at his request – carried his ashes to India and finding a place at the source of the Ganges River, where it ran turquoise and glinting with large gold carp, released him, with flowers and prayers at the break of a new day.
Sue and the holy river
Will send you to the saints of jazz –
To Duke and Bird and Fats –
And any other saints you have.” – Joni Mitchell
Charles Mingus Jr. (April 22, 1922 – January 5, 1979)
Photo credit: Sy Johnson (Mingus Archives) – Charles and Sue Mingus in their home at Manhattan Plaza, NYC – 1978