Beneath the Underdog: His World as Composed by Mingus

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  • Paperback
  • 384 pages
  • Beneath the Underdog: His World as Composed by Mingus
  • Charles Mingus
  • English
  • 20 December 2018
  • 9780679737612

10 thoughts on “Beneath the Underdog: His World as Composed by Mingus

  1. says:

    Mr Mingus sure passes on some effective bedroom wisdom in this book I always relish the opportunity to respond, when asked where I learned an especially tantalizing lovemaking technique, That little manuever My dear, I learned that from none other than Charles Mingus It s not as cheesy as saying I learned it from Chet Baker, not as Q bert goofball as saying Wynton Marsalis, not as fucked as saying I learned it from the Rashaan Roland Kirk who could circular breath, play three horns at once, and was blind , and not as downright disturbing as crediting Yanni or Kenny G Mingus played the double bass with considerable energy, passion approaching ferocity, and since the double bass is human than any instrument out there, you can trust the dude As for the book, I read it in en route to Austin in early 1995 after a little Xmas vacation home to NJ really all I remember is the aforementioned technique.

  2. says:

    A book of earnest erotica posing as a jazz memoir, Beneath the Underdog chronicles Mingus childhood and early career as a lover and a pimp with nary of a mention of the music into which he poured his worthwhile thoughts Mingus book is funny and touching at times, but it s also very repetitive Who can keep all the women straight Certainly not Mingus and often stilted Mingus tells his story almost completely through dialogue, and while some of it does a good job at capturing voices Mingus does a great Duke Ellington imitation , much of it sounds inauthentic either too slangy or too formal for the context The book s payoff fifty or so pages of Mingus musings on reality, love, God, and the universe comes across as My Dinner with Andre light It s world weary, but not much profound, than a twelve year old s thoughts on metaphysics Yet the strangest and most disappointing part of Beneath the Underdog is its refusal to discuss Mingus music Every so often in a lull between orgies, a character mentions something to Mingus that lets us know how his career is progressing I heard that album you did with Duke and Max Roach , but rehearsing, composing, and performing matter to him far less in the book than chasing a new piece of ass In the absence of a real discussion of what made Mingus special, Beneath the Underdog is nothing than a mediocre memoir about a fairly anonymous, sexually hungry man growing up in Watts in the 1930s and finally finding Kerouac s IT in an insane asylum in New York.

  3. says:

    Thoroughly complicated autobiography of highly original jazz bassist and composer Charles Mingus Intensely philosophical, the role of jazz in Mingus life or at least the parts of it he put in this book seems to be so all encompassing that its incidental like why is a dude gonna waste time talking about air in his autobiography This ain t a music book, it s a Mingus book, and Mingus was one conflicted dude Starts with memories of his childhood in Watts, precedes through his psychically destructive relationships with two women they were a threesome , his attempts to reconcile innate idealism with learned misanthropy Shares fond memories and interesting anecdotes about his fellow musicians, heaps scorn on his detractors, and presents us with a world so particular and individualistic, it s almost cosmologically Mingusian.

  4. says:

    This is one of the greatest works of autobiographical fiction I will ever read Mingus verbal play is Joycean, his humor Rabelaisian He is unflinchingly brave when writing about childhood, race, class, sex, creativity, and madness He is filthily obscene and tenderly naive This is the kind of candor, self exhibition and self delusion that only the most truthful autobiographical fiction achieves.

  5. says:

    This book starts out extremely well It s an original work of literature, narrated by a part of Mingus don t ask in the third person, playing with tense, including snappy, unrealistic dialogue, etc But around halfway the sexual excess becomes tiresome, and as Mingus becomes an adult this reader s desire for something about music was fed only by occasional, abstruse passages What made one of the great composers and band leaders not to mention bass players of the 20th century I didn t expect a direct answer, but at least something that continued the creativity promised by the book s beginnings I made it over halfway.

  6. says:

    For all the fictitious elements on the page, Mingus manages to inject his personality directly into the narrative You never forget for a second who is driving this crazy umbrella and this book paints a human, real, and nuanced image of the man in a way that no meticulously researched, cited and cross referenced academic biography ever could.Mingus s younger years in particular read like A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, but set in Watts Mingus voice in Beneath the Underdog is convincingly organic and eccentric, and a must read or any casual Mingus fan.A quick and very enjoyable read Everyone I ve lent this book to has commented, even years later, about how memorable it was.For jazz fans, Mingus descriptions of the conversations between the instruments of well known musicians during jams is hilarious and just plain awesome I really liked his accounts of Monk, Charlie Parker, Mile Davis and Art Tatum In Beneath the Underdog you get pure Mingus in all his lovable, maniacal glory.

  7. says:

    I enjoy a good fictionalized autobiography as much as the next guy, and I think it is entirely appropriate for someone to embellish here and there to get a good story Sometimes a well crafted story with only the slightest hints of truth will tell you about the person than the actual facts ever will And, Mingus was a large man, with larger passions, and an ego even larger still, so a certain amount of bravado and bragging is to be expected This should have been great.Unfortunately, the whole thing reads like a 15 year old boy s idea of what would be really cool and awesome The pimping, the badly written erotica, the fights it s all sort of painful to read, since you are embarrassed for a grown man who thinks that this will glorify his life It is cringeworthy You do learn a lot about Mingus from this, but nothing you would want to know.Skip it, and read The Charles Mingus CAT alog For Toilet Training Your Cat instead At least you will come away knowing how to toilet train a cat.

  8. says:

    This is a fierce, bragging, smart, autobiography that s full of tall tales and simple truths Written in a very straightforward language that s full of colloquialisms slang and street smarts It reminded me of the anger evident in the Miles Davis biography, but it s matter of fact about it I recently read this for the second time and it was just as good as i remember it.

  9. says:

    , Beneath The Underdog 1500 , , , 1971 340 , , , , , , , , , , , , .9789602561799 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

  10. says:

    I would give it two and a half stars.The concept is great a jazz autobiography that is written like jazz Forget about, And then I played with Miles, and, Bird was great because Forget about talk about the music Some people complain that this book doesn t talk about the music enough Who cares This book isn t about how Mingus lived through jazz history This book is about Mingus It is the mind of Mingus Stream of consciousness, musings on love, contemplations of what it means to be a minority, poetically talking about split personalities and telling stories about a detached self that may or may not be true these are the important things Who cares about how the music was played and who played it and why This is what went into the music, what made it This is Mingus It s not a memoir It s a novel it s poem it s song So, why only two and half stars Because, sometimes the music just isn t that good Sometimes it has the substance without the style, sometimes the style without the substance Sometimes it doesn t have either particularly when it comes to the sexually explicit passages that often come off as juvenile though, one could argue that these passages are often spoken through the characters, but still The focus doesn t so much shift in parts as jumps or wanders and usually needlessly so, and the structure doesn t always make sense Sometimes chapters ramble on, hopping through disjointed scenes, acts, and themes, while some cohesive scenes, acts, and themes are broken up into several smaller chapters And, before you say that I just don t get it, I will say that this is all done in such a way that it just seems unconscious and haphazard rather than provocative, experimental, intentional, and purposeful.But, it s Mingus, so you have to take it warts and all, and the parts that do succeed are worth the wait, as they give the reader a dream of how grand this sort of expression could be The book was clearly written by a musician with a great sense of musicality That s one of its great characteristics It was undoubtably written by the man s whose name appears on the cover This was not the work of a ghostwriter But, one wishes that Mingus could have found himself a stronger editor who could have helped him craft his ideas into something consistent.

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