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Monday, November 27, 2006

For The Love Of Mingus

posted by on November 27 at 10:07 AM

If the power that fuels Coltrane’s genius is cosmic spirituality, then the power that fuels Mingus’s genius is the most human, the most direct form of love.
We are but stick insects in the shadow of such artistic greatness. And the love Mingus had and generated in the short space of his life is the kind of love (a love that is concentrated in the moment, in the realm of life, in the biological, the physical, the temporal, the here and now and nowhere else) we can no longer even imagine it—let alone reproduce it. We the weak ( we who give pity the highest status in all our doings-sex, pregnancy, life, death) can only hear it on Pithecanthropus Erectus, be excited by it in the opening of “Love Chant” or the end of “Profile of Jackie,” and then, when the music stops, fall into despair because we are nothing more then moral and emotional stick insects, incapable of reaching, matching, expressing our world situation with such determination, intensity, and honesty. “To speak the truth and to shoot well with arrows,” was not only a “Persian virtue,” it was also that of the masters of modern jazz (1947-1969).

Note: I’m not sure if stick insects exist in the US, but there are plenty of them in Zimbabwe. Their ridiculous appearance, and the way they clumsily fly through the air, is such a shame, such a motherfucking shame. They are the penguins of the insect world.

The miserable stick insect we are.

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Yes, we have stick insects here, at least on the East Coast, along with leafhoppers and other bugs disguised as various parts of plant anatomy. They're really cool and I don't mind being one.

But yeah, Mingus is amazing.

Posted by david | November 27, 2006 10:26 AM

Judging by his appearences in Miles' autobiography, as well as the very little I was able to get through of Beneath the Underdog, I'd say hate had as much to do with Mingus's mightiness.

Posted by Eric F | November 27, 2006 10:31 AM

much like vonnegut's harmoniums

Posted by josh | November 27, 2006 10:55 AM

The ears that hear are a crucial part of the instrument being played. We may admire the genius which is the music's source, but in so doing let us not ignore the vital role the listener plays in creating music. Attention occupied in to the fruitless observation "I will never be capable of producing such things" (however true that statement may be) is attention diverted away from experiencing the music as it unfolds. Giving one's full attention is the highest compliment one can pay and is the ideal towards which true artists strive, over and above the desire to be admired or envied by their audience.

Also, stick insects are way cool!

Posted by flamingbanjo | November 27, 2006 11:26 AM

Eric's not wrong. Hate and anger were major motivating forces for Mingus, but so were love, God, and an endless devotion to the church of Duke Ellington. The man was infinitely complicated (Did you know he wrote a book about training your cat to use the toilet? It's true! and his music reflects that. He is larger than life, and his compositions are timeless. Yeegads I love this man's music.

Posted by Gurldoggie | November 27, 2006 12:01 PM

The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady is superior to A Love Supreme, but hardly anybody wants to admit it. Why is that?

Posted by some deaths take forever | November 27, 2006 12:21 PM

Who drank my Mingus Dew?

Posted by Stormy | November 27, 2006 8:46 PM

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