Opening the album warning a fake studio audience against rattling their glasses or applauding so much as to interrupt their recording, “Charles Mingus Presents Charles Mingus” is a sly jab of a record that would become one of his most acclaimed. He plays with a small unit, but the complete, well-organized composition creates the illusion of a full band. As Mingus would become known for later, it’s a lush swinging experience that’s equally unpredictable as it is vibrant.
“The Angry Man of Jazz,” or so he would become known, Charles Mingus’s music was as unpredictable as he was. He’d earn his reputation by firing gigging musicians mid-set and breaking instruments. During one especially heated moment, he punched trombonist Jimmy Knepper in the jaw, literally changing how Knepper would play trombone for the rest of his life by ruining his embouchure. But his passion always translated into his music. He believed the making of a good set was the breakdown, mentally not musically. Happiness, sadness, anger and all human emotion were translated into his music. He’d become known as a seminal jazz artist and one of the best to hail from the southwest United States.