Triumph Of The Underdog – 1997

Charles Mingus


An intriguing portrait of the complex bassist-composer

Charles Mingus (1922-79) was a unique bassist, bandleader and composer, one whose emotional intensity often drove his sidemen to play at their very best, if they did not end up breaking under the pressure.

Mingus’ life and music is explored in-depth during this documentary.

There are excerpts of his music (mostly from the 1970s) but it is the reminiscences of such notables as Dannie Richmond, Gunther Schuller, Jimmy Knepper, Jack Walrath, John Handy, George Adams, Randy Brecker, and his widow Sue Mingus and earlier wife Celia Mingus Zaentz among others that make this a memorable documentary.

-Scott Yanow

Subscribe to Jazz on the Tube