22 May, 2012

General LeMay



Curtis Emerson LeMay was a general in the United States Air Force and the vice presidential running mate of American Independent Party presidential candidate George Wallace in 1968.

He is credited with designing and implementing an effective, but also controversial, systematic strategic bombing campaign in the Pacific theater of World War II. During the war, he was known for planning and executing a massive bombing campaign against cities in Japan. After the war, he headed the Berlin airlift, then reorganized the Strategic Air Command (SAC) into an effective instrument of nuclear war.

Admiral William Moffett




William Adger Moffett (October 31, 1869 – April 4, 1933) was an American admiral and Medal of Honor recipient known as the architect of naval aviation in the United States Navy.

Born October 31, 1869 in Charleston, South Carolina, he graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1890. He was the son of George Hall Moffett (1829–1875), who enlisted in the Confederate States army as a private, and was promoted for bravery on the field of battle, eventually attaining the rank of adjutant-general, Hagood's Brigade, Twenty-fifth South Carolina Volunteers.

Moffett was on USS Charleston (C-2) when she sailed across the Pacific and captured Guam.[citation needed] Ultimately ending up in the Philippines, a month after the US victory at Manila Bay. The USS Charleston then shelled enemy positions in support of American and Filipino troops at the Battle of Manila (1898).

In December 1915 Moffett received the Medal of Honor for his captaincy of the USS Chester in a daring and dangerous night landing in 1914 at Veracruz, Veracruz, Mexico. (See also United States occupation of Veracruz, 1914).

In World War I, he was commander of the Great Lakes Naval Training Center near Chicago, and there established an aviator training program. While commanding the battleship USS Mississippi (1918–1921) he supported the creation of a scout plane unit on the ship.

Although not himself a flyer, Moffett became known as the "Air Admiral" for his leadership of the Navy's Bureau of Aeronautics from its creation in 1921. In this role, he oversaw the development of tactics for naval aircraft, the introduction of the aircraft carrier, and relations with the civilian aircraft industry. A master politician, he maintained official support for naval aviation against Billy Mitchell, who favored putting all military aircraft into a separate air force. In that regard, Moffett benefited from his longstanding friendship with Franklin D. Roosevelt, who had been appointed Assistant Secretary of the Navy by Woodrow Wilson in 1913.

Moffett was also an advocate of the development of lighter-than-air airships, or "dirigibles."
He lost his life on the USS Akron when that airship, which was then the largest dirigible in the world, went down in a storm off the coast of New Jersey on April 4, 1933.

He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, alongside his wife Jeanette Whitton Moffett.

Jacque Cousteau

Jacques-Yves Cousteau was a French naval officer, explorer, conservationist, filmmaker, innovator, scientist, photographer, author and researcher who studied the sea and all forms of life in water. He co-developed the Aqua-Lung, pioneered marine conservation and was a member of the Académie française. He was also known as "le Commandant Cousteau" or "Captain Cousteau".

Jakov Lind



Jakov Lind was an Austrian-British writer. As an 11-year old boy from a Jewish family, he left Austria after the Anschluss (his parents had immigrated to Palestine before Germany annexed Austria), found temporary refuge in Holland, and succeeded in surviving inside Nazi Germany by assuming a Dutch identity: that of Jan Gerrit Overbeek. During this time, he worked on a barge in the Rhine, transporting goods between Holland and Germany. Of this period, Lind later wrote, "As Jan Gerrit Overbeek, I felt safe for the first time. It is crazy, walking around freely when one really should be sitting in a concentration camp. Crazy, perhaps, but a craziness that made me content, and happy."


In 1945, Jan Gerrit Overbeek became Jakov Chaklan, and he made his way to Haifa. After a literary apprenticeship, a marriage, and the birth of a son, he moved to Vienna for three years. Finally, in 1954, he settled in London, where he wrote, in German, the short stories and novels on which his stature as a major European writer is based: Soul of Wood, Landscape in Concrete, and Ergo. Lind began writing in English and the autobiography Counting My Steps was the first book written in his new language. On switching to English, Lind wrote that he was "Madder than anything...to think I could ever unlearn sounds I knew by heart and kidneys and replace them with other and better sounds." His stories have been translated into English, German, Danish, Swedish, Dutch, French, Italian, Norwegian, Finnish, Spanish, Hungarian, and Czech. His work been adapted into plays, operas, and films. A collection of essays about his life and writings has also been published,Writing After Hitler: the Work of Jakov Lind (2001).

Amir-Abbas Hoveyda

Amir-Abbas Hoveyda was an Iranian economist and politician who served as Prime Minister of Iran from January 27, 1965 to August 7, 1977. He was prime minister for 13 years and is the longest serving prime minister in Iran's history. He also served as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance in Mansur's cabinet. He was executed in 1979 after put on trial for treason, financial corruption, killing protesters and dissidents, and running the nation in a dictatorial manner.

Ralph Vaughan Williams



Ralph Vaughan Williams  was an English composer of symphonies, chamber music, opera, choral music, and film scores. He was also a collector of English folk music and song: this activity both influenced his editorial approach to the English Hymnal, beginning in 1904, in which he included many folk song arrangements set as hymn tunes, and also influenced several of his own original compositions.

Early years
Ralph Vaughan Williams was born on 12 October 1872 in Down Ampney, Gloucestershire, where his father, the Reverend Arthur Vaughan Williams (the surname Vaughan Williams is an unhyphenated double-barrelled name of Welsh origin), was vicar. Following his father's death in 1875 he was taken by his mother, Margaret Susan née Wedgwood (1843–1937), the great-granddaughter of the potterJosiah Wedgwood, to live with her family at Leith Hill Place, a Wedgwood family home in the Surrey Hills. He was also related to the Darwins, Charles Darwin being a great-uncle. Though born into the privileged intellectual upper middle class, Vaughan Williams never took it for granted and worked all his life for the democratic and egalitarian ideals in which he believed.

As a student he had studied piano, "which I never could play, and the violin, which was my musical salvation." After Charterhouse School he attended the Royal College of Music (RCM) under Charles Villiers Stanford. He read history and music at Trinity College, Cambridge,where his friends and contemporaries included the philosophers G. E. Moore and Bertrand Russell. He then returned to the RCM and studied composition with Hubert Parry, who became a friend. One of his fellow pupils at the RCM was Leopold Stokowski and during 1896 they both studied organ under Sir Walter Parratt. Stokowski later went on to perform six of Vaughan Williams's symphonies for American audiences, making the first recording of the Sixth Symphony in 1949 with the New York Philharmonic, and giving the U.S. premiere of the Ninth Symphony in Carnegie Hall in 1958.

Another friendship made at the RCM, crucial to Vaughan Williams's development as a composer, was with fellow-student Gustav Holstwhom he first met in 1895. From that time onwards they spent several 'field days' reading through and offering constructive criticism on each other's works in progress.[4]
Vaughan Williams's composition developed slowly and it was not until he was 30 that the song "Linden Lea" became his first publication. He mixed composition with conducting, lecturing and editing other music, notably that of Henry Purcell and the English Hymnal. He had already taken lessons with Max Bruch in Berlin in 1897 and in 1907–1908 took a big step forward in his orchestral style when he studied for three months in Paris with Maurice Ravel.

In 1904, Vaughan Williams discovered English folk songs and carols, which were fast becoming extinct owing to the oral tradition through which they existed being undermined by the increase of literacy and printed music in rural areas. He travelled the countryside, transcribing and preserving many himself. Later he incorporated some songs and melodies into his own music, being fascinated by the beauty of the music and its anonymous history in the working lives of ordinary people. His efforts did much to raise appreciation of traditional English folk song and melody. Later in his life he served as president of the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS), which, in recognition of his early and important work in this field, named its Vaughan Williams Memorial Library after him. During this time he strengthened his links to prominent writers on folk music, including the Reverend George B. Chambers.
In 1905, Vaughan Williams conducted the first concert of the newly founded Leith Hill Music Festival at Dorking which he was to conduct until 1953, when he passed the baton to his successor, William Cole. In 1909, he composed incidental music for the Cambridge Greek Play, a stage production at Cambridge University of Aristophanes' The Wasps. The next year, he had his first big public successes conducting the premieres of the Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis (at the Three Choirs Festival in Gloucester Cathedral) and his choral symphony A Sea Symphony (Symphony No. 1). He enjoyed a still greater success with A London Symphony (Symphony No. 2) in 1914, conducted by Geoffrey Toye.


Two World Wars
Vaughan Williams was 41 when World War I began. Though he could have avoided war service entirely, or tried for a commission, he chose to enlist as a private in the Royal Army Medical Corps. After a gruelling time as a stretcher bearer in France and Salonika, he was commissioned as aSecond Lieutenant in the Royal Garrison Artillery on 24 December 1917. On one occasion, though too ill to stand, he continued to direct his battery while lying on the ground. Prolonged exposure to gunfire began a process of hearing loss which eventually caused severe deafness in old age. In 1918, he was appointed Director of Music, First Army, and this helped him adjust back into musical life.

After the war, he adopted for a while a somewhat mystical style in Flos Campi, a work for solo viola, small orchestra and wordless chorus, and in A Pastoral Symphony (Symphony No. 3), which draws on his experiences as an ambulance volunteer in that war, including a cadenza for trumpet in the second movement based on a bugler practicing and repeatedly hitting a wrong note, a flattened seventh, which Vaughan Williams alludes to in the symphony. The work was premiered on 26 January, 1922, in London, with Adrian Boult conducting. From 1924 a new phase in his music began, characterised by lively cross-rhythms and clashing harmonies. Key works from this period areToccata marziale, the ballet Old King Cole, the Piano Concerto, the oratorio Sancta Civitas (his favourite of his choral works) and the ballet Job: A Masque for Dancing, which is drawn not from the Bible but from William Blake'sIllustrations of the Book of Job. He also composed a Te Deum in G for the enthronement of Cosmo Gordon Lang as Archbishop of Canterbury.

This period in his music culminated in the Symphony No. 4 in F minor, first played by the BBC Symphony Orchestra in 1935. This symphony contrasts dramatically with the "pastoral" orchestral works with which he is associated; indeed, its almost unrelieved tension, drama, and dissonance have startled listeners since it was premiered. Acknowledging that the Fourth Symphony was different, the composer said, "I don't know if I like it, but it's what I meant." Two years later, Vaughan Williams made a historic recording of the work with the same orchestra for HMV (His Master's Voice), his only commercial recording. During this period, he lectured in America and England, and conducted The Bach Choir. He was President of the City of Bath Bach Choir between 1946 and 1959. He was appointed to the Order of Merit in the King's Birthday Honours of 1935, having previously declined a knighthood. He also gave private lessons in London to students including Irish composer Ina Boyle.

Vaughan Williams was an intimate life long friend of the famous British pianist Harriet Cohen. His letters to her reveal a flirtatious relationship, regularly reminding her of the thousands of kisses that she owed him. Before Cohen's first American tour in 1931 he wrote "I fear the Americans will love you so much that they won't let you come back." He was a regular visitor to her home and often attended parties there. Cohen premiered Vaughan Williams's "Hymn Tune Prelude" in 1930, which he dedicated to her. She later introduced the piece throughout Europe during her concert tours. In 1933 she premiered his Piano Concerto in C major, a work which was once again dedicated to her. Cohen was given the exclusive right to play the piece for a period of time. Cohen played and promoted Vaughan Williams's work throughout Europe, the USSR, and the United States.

His music now entered a mature lyrical phase, as in the Five Tudor Portraits; the Serenade to Music; and the Symphony No. 5 in D, which he conducted at the Proms in 1943. As he was now 70, many people considered it a swan song, but he renewed himself again and entered yet another period of exploratory harmony and instrumentation. His very successful Symphony No. 6 of 1946 received a hundred performances in the first year. It surprised both admirers and critics, many of whom suggested that this symphony was a grim vision of the aftermath of an atomic war: typically, Vaughan Williams himself refused to recognize any program behind this work.

Later work
Before his death in 1958, he completed three more symphonies. His Seventh, Sinfonia Antartica, which was based on his 1948 film score for Scott of the Antarctic, exhibits his renewed interest in instrumentation and sonority. The Eighth Symphony, first performed in 1956, was followed by the much weightier Symphony No. 9 in E minor of 1956–57. This last symphony was initially given a lukewarm reception after its first performance in May 1958, just three months before his death. But this dark and enigmatic work is now considered by many to be a fitting conclusion to his sequence of symphonic works.

He also completed a range of instrumental and choral works, including a Tuba Concerto, An Oxford Elegy on texts of Matthew Arnold, and the Christmas cantata Hodie. He also wrote an arrangement of The Old One Hundredth Psalm Tune for the Coronation Service of Queen Elizabeth II. At his death he left an unfinished Cello Concerto, an opera Thomas the Rhymerand music for a Christmas play, The First Nowell, which was completed by his amanuensisRoy Douglas (b. 1907).

Despite his substantial involvement in church music, and the religious subject-matter of many of his works, he was described by his second wife as "an atheist ... [who] later drifted into a cheerful agnosticism." It is noteworthy that in his opera The Pilgrim's Progress he changed the name of the hero from John Bunyan's Christian to Pilgrim. He also set Bunyan's hymn Who would true valour see to music using the traditional Sussex melody "Monk's Gate". For many church-goers, his most familiar composition may be the hymn tune Sine nomine written for the hymn "For All the Saints" by William Walsham How. The tune he composed for the mediaeval hymn "Come Down, O Love Divine" (Discendi, Amor santo by Bianco of Siena, ca.1434) is entitled "Down Ampney" in honour of his birthplace.

He also worked as a tutor for Birkbeck College.

In the 1950s, the composer supervised recordings of all but his Ninth Symphony by Sir Adrian Boult and the London Philharmonic Orchestra for Decca. At the end of the sessions for the mysterious Sixth Symphony, Vaughan Williams gave a short speech, thanking Boult and the orchestra for their performance, "most heartily," and Decca later included this on the LP. He was to supervise the first recording of the Ninth Symphony (for Everest Records) with Boult; his death on 26 August 1958 the night before the recording sessions were to begin provoked Boult to announce to the musicians that their performance would be a memorial to the composer. These recordings, including the speeches by the composer and Boult, have all been reissued by Decca on CD.

Vaughan Williams is a central figure in British music because of his long career as teacher, lecturer and friend to so many younger composers and conductors. His writings on music remain thought-provoking, particularly his oft-repeated call for all persons to make their own music, however simple, as long as it is truly their own. Vaughan Williams was laid to rest in Westminster Abbey.

Brook Benton


Brook Benton was an American singer and songwriter who was popular with rock and roll, rhythm and blues, and pop music audiences during the late 1950s and early 1960s, when he scored hits such as "It's Just A Matter Of Time" and "Endlessly", many of which he co-wrote.

He made a comeback in 1970 with the ballad "Rainy Night in Georgia." Benton scored over 50 Billboard chart hits as an artist, and also wrote hits for other performers.


Rise to fame
Benjamin Franklin Peay was born on September 19, 1931 in Lugoff, South Carolina. When Peay was young he enjoyed gospel music, wrote songs, and sang in a Methodist church choir in nearby Camden, where his father, Willie Peay, was choir master. So in 1948 he went to New York to pursue his music career. He went in and out of gospel groups such as The Langfordaires, The Jerusalem Stars, and The Golden Gate Quartet. Returning to his home state, he joined a R&B singing group, The Sandmen, and went back to New York to get a big break with his group. The Sandmen had limited success, and their label, Okeh Records, decided to push Peay as a solo artist, changing his name to Brook Benton, apparently at the suggestion of label executive Marv Halsman.

Brook earned a good living writing songs and co-producing albums. He wrote songs for artists such as Nat King Cole, Clyde McPhatter (for whom he wrote the hit "A Lover's Question"), and Roy Hamilton. Soon he released his first minor hit, "A Million Miles from Nowhere". Later he went on to the Mercury label, which would eventually bring him larger success. Also he appeared in the 1957 film Mr Rock And Roll with Alan Freed

Big break

Finally in 1959 he made his breakthrough with his hits "It's Just a Matter of Time" and "Endlessly". "It's Just a Matter of Time" peaked at #3 on the United States Billboard Hot 100 chart, while "Endlessly" made it to #12. Both of the first two hits were written by Benton with Clyde Otis. They were originally offered to Nat King Cole, but when Otis became an A&R official at Mercury, he convinced Benton to sign with the label and record them himself, while asking Cole not to record the songs as planned. He followed this success with a series of hits, including "So Many Ways" (#6), "Hotel Happiness" (#3), "Think Twice" (#11), "Kiddio" (#7), and "The Boll Weevil Song" (#2). In 1960, he had two top 10 hit duets with Dinah Washington: "Baby (You've Got What It Takes)" (#5) and "A Rockin' Good Way (To Mess Around and Fall in Love)" (#7).

He also recorded his own version of "Take Good Care of Her" in 1962. In the mid- and late 1960s, Benton recorded for RCA Records and Reprise Records with minimal commercial success. In 1969 he signed with Cotillion Records, a subsidiary of Atlantic Records, where the next year he had his last major hit with "Rainy Night in Georgia".

Benton eventually charted 49 singles on the Billboard Hot 100, with other songs charting on Billboard's rhythm and blues, easy listening, and Christmas music charts. The last album made by Benton was Fools Rush In, which was released posthumously in 2005. At one point he was recording on Groove Records.

Death
Weakened from spinal meningitis, Brook died of pneumonia in Queens, New York City, at the age of 56 on April 9, 1988.

Charles Mingus



Charles Mingus Jr.  was an American jazz musician, composer, bandleader, and civil rights activist.
Mingus's compositions retained the hot and soulful feel of hard bop and drew heavily from black gospel music while sometimes drawing on elements of Third stream, free jazz, and classical music. Yet Mingus avoided categorization, forging his own brand of music that fused tradition with unique and unexplored realms of jazz.


Mingus focused on collective improvisation, similar to the old New Orleans jazz parades, paying particular attention to how each band member interacted with the group as a whole. In creating his bands, Mingus looked not only at the skills of the available musicians, but also their personalities. Many musicians passed through his bands and later went on to impressive careers. He recruited talented and sometimes little-known artists whom he assembled into unconventional and revealing configurations. As a performer, Mingus was a pioneer in double bass technique, widely recognized as one of the instrument's most proficient players.
Nearly as well known as his ambitious music was Mingus' often fearsome temperament, which earned him the nickname "The Angry Man of Jazz." His refusal to compromise his musical integrity led to many on-stage eruptions, exhortations to musicians, and dismissals. 


Because of his brilliant writing for mid-size ensembles—and his catering to and emphasizing the strengths of the musicians in his groups—Mingus is often considered the heir of Duke Ellington, for whom he expressed great admiration. Indeed, Dizzy Gillespie had once claimed Mingus reminded him "of a young Duke", citing their shared "organizational genius." 


Mingus' music was once believed to be too difficult to play without Mingus' leadership, and Gunther Schuller has suggested that Mingus should be ranked among the most important American composers, jazz or otherwise. However, many musicians play Mingus compositions today, from those who play with the repertory bands Mingus Big Band, Mingus Dynasty, and Mingus Orchestra, to the high school students who play the charts and compete in the Charles Mingus High School Competition. 


In 1988, a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts made possible the cataloging of Mingus compositions, which were then donated to the Music Division of the New York Public Library[6] for public use. In 1993, The Library of Congress acquired Mingus's collected papers—including scores, sound recordings, correspondence and photos—in what they described as "the most important acquisition of a manuscript collection relating to jazz in the Library's history".


Early life and career
Charles Mingus was born in Nogales, Arizona. He was raised largely in the Watts area of Los Angeles, California. His mother's paternal heritage was Chinese and English, while historical records indicate that his father was the illegitimate offspring of a black farmhand and his Swedish employer's white granddaughter. In Mingus' autobiography Beneath the Underdog he recounts a story told to him by his father, Charles Mingus senior, according to which his white grandmother was actually a first cousin of Abraham Lincoln. Charles Mingus Sr. claims to have been raised by his mother and her husband as a white person until he was fourteen, when his mother revealed to her family that the child's true father was a black slave, after which he had to run away from his family and live on his own. The autobiography doesn't confirm whether Charles Mingus Sr. or Mingus himself believed this story to be true, or whether it was meant to be merely an embellished version of the Mingus family's lineage. 


His mother allowed only church-related music in their home, but Mingus developed an early love for music, especially Duke Ellington. He studied trombone, and later cello, although he was unable to follow the cello professionally because, at the time, it was nearly impossible for a black musician to make a career of classical music, and the cello was not yet accepted as a jazz instrument. Despite this, Mingus was still attached to the cello; as he studied bass with Red Callender in the late 1930s, Callender would even comment that the cello was still Mingus's main instrument. In Beneath the Underdog, Mingus states that he did not actually start learning bass until Buddy Collette accepted him into his swing band under the stipulation that he be the band's bass player. 


Due to a poor education Mingus could not read western notation as a young musician. This had a serious impact on his early musical experiences: since he could not read music, he felt ostracized from the classical music world rather than accepted, and eventually turned from a symphonic path entirely. These early experiences were also reflected in his music, which often focused on racism, discrimination and justice. Much of the cello technique he learned was applicable to double bass when he took up the instrument in high school. He studied for five years with H. Rheinshagen, principal bassist of the New York Philharmonic, and compositional techniques with Lloyd Reese. Throughout much of his career, he played a bass made in 1927 by the German maker Ernst Heinrich Roth.


Beginning in his teen years, Mingus was writing quite advanced pieces; many are similar to Third Stream because they incorporate elements of classical music. A number of them were recorded in 1960 with conductor Gunther Schuller, and released as Pre-Bird, referring to Charlie "Bird" Parker; Mingus was one of many musicians whose perspectives on music were altered by Parker into "pre- and post-Bird" eras.
Mingus gained a reputation as a bass prodigy. His first major professional job was playing with former Ellington clarinetist Barney Bigard. He toured with Louis Armstrong in 1943, and by early 1945 was recording in Los Angeles in a band led by Russell Jacquet and which also included Teddy Edwards, Maurice Simon, Bill Davis and Chico Hamilton, and in May that year, in Hollywood, again with Teddy Edwards, in a band led by Howard McGhee. He then played with Lionel Hampton's band in the late 1940s; Hampton performed and recorded several of Mingus's pieces. A popular trio of Mingus, Red Norvo and Tal Farlow in 1950 and 1951 received considerable acclaim, but Mingus' mixed origin caused problems with club owners and he left the group. Mingus was briefly a member of Ellington's band in 1953, as a substitute for bassist Wendell Marshall. Mingus's notorious temper led to him being one of the few musicians personally fired by Ellington (Bubber Miley and drummer Bobby Durham are among the others), after an on-stage fight between Mingus and Juan Tizol. 


Also in the early 1950s, before attaining commercial recognition as a bandleader, Mingus played gigs with Charlie Parker, whose compositions and improvisations greatly inspired and influenced him. Mingus considered Parker the greatest genius and innovator in jazz history, but he had a love-hate relationship with Parker's legacy. Mingus blamed the Parker mythology for a derivative crop of pretenders to Parker's throne. He was also conflicted and sometimes disgusted by Parker's self-destructive habits and the romanticized lure of drug addiction they offered to other jazz musicians. In response to the many sax players who imitated Parker, Mingus titled a song, "If Charlie Parker were a Gunslinger, There'd be a Whole Lot of Dead Copycats" (released on Mingus Dynasty as "Gunslinging Bird").


Based in New York
In 1952 Mingus co-founded Debut Records with Max Roach, in order to conduct his recording career as he saw fit; the name originated with a desire to document unrecorded young musicians. Despite this, the best-known recording the company issued was of the most prominent figures in bebop. On May 15, 1953, Mingus joined Dizzy Gillespie, Parker, Bud Powell, and Roach for a concert at Massey Hall in Toronto, which is the last recorded documentation of the two lead instrumentalists playing together. After the event, Mingus chose to overdub his barely audible bass part back in New York; the original version was issued later. The two 10" albums of the Massey Hall concert (one featured the trio of Powell, Mingus and Roach) were among Debut Records' earliest releases. Mingus may have objected to the way the major record companies treated musicians, but Gillespie once commented that he did not receive any royalties "for years and years" for his Massey Hall appearance. The records though, are often regarded as among the finest live jazz recordings.


One story, possibly apocryphal, has it that Mingus was involved in a notorious incident while playing a 1955 club date billed as a "reunion" with Parker, Powell, and Roach. Powell, who suffered from alcoholism and mental illness (possibly exacerbated by a severe police beating and electroshock treatments), had to be helped from the stage, unable to play or speak coherently. As Powell's incapacitation became apparent, Parker stood in one spot at a microphone, chanting "Bud Powell...Bud Powell..." as if beseeching Powell's return. Allegedly, Parker continued this incantation for several minutes after Powell's departure, to his own amusement and Mingus' exasperation. Mingus took another microphone and announced to the crowd, "Ladies and gentlemen, this is not jazz; these are very sick men." This was Parker's last public performance; about a week later he died after years of substance abuse.


Mingus often worked with a mid-sized ensemble of rotating musicians known as the Jazz Workshop. Mingus broke new ground, constantly demanding that his musicians be able to explore and develop their perceptions on the spot. Those who joined the Workshop included Pepper Adams, Jaki Byard, Booker Ervin, John Handy, Jimmy Knepper, Charles McPherson and Horace Parlan. Mingus shaped these musicians into a cohesive improvisational machine that in many ways anticipated free jazz. Some musicians dubbed the workshop a "university" for jazz.


Pithecanthropus Erectus among other creations
The decade which followed is generally regarded as Mingus's most productive and fertile period. Impressive new compositions and albums appeared at an astonishing rate: some thirty records in ten years, for a number of record labels (Atlantic Records, Candid,Columbia Records, Impulse! Records and others), a pace perhaps unmatched by any other musicians except Ellington and Frank Zappa.


Mingus had already recorded around ten albums as a bandleader, but 1956 was a breakthrough year for him, with the release ofPithecanthropus Erectus, arguably his first major work as both a bandleader and composer. Like Ellington, Mingus wrote songs with specific musicians in mind, and his band for Erectus included adventurous, though distinctly blues-oriented musicians, piano player Mal Waldron, alto saxophonist Jackie McLean and the Sonny Rollins-influenced tenor of J. R. Monterose. The title song is a ten-minute tone poem, depicting the rise of man from his hominid roots (Pithecanthropus erectus) to an eventual downfall. A section of the piece wasfree improvisation, free of structure or theme.


Another album from this period, The Clown (1957 also on Atlantic Records), with an improvised story on the title track by humorist Jean Shepherd, was the first to feature drummer Dannie Richmond. Richmond would be his preferred drummer until Mingus's death in 1979. The two men formed one of the most impressive and versatile rhythm sections in jazz. Both were accomplished performers seeking to stretch the boundaries of their music while staying true to its roots. When joined by pianist Jaki Byard, they were dubbed "The Almighty Three".


In 1959 Mingus and his jazz workshop musicians recorded one of his best-known albums, Mingus Ah Um. Even in a year of standout masterpieces, including Dave Brubeck's Time Out, Miles Davis's Kind of Blue, John Coltrane's Giant Steps, Bill Evans' Portrait in Jazz, and Ornette Coleman's prophetic The Shape of Jazz to Come, this was a major achievement, featuring such classic Mingus compositions as "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat" (an elegy to Lester Young) and "Fables of Faubus" (a protest against segregationist Arkansas governor Orval E. Faubus that features double-time sections).


Mingus witnessed Ornette Coleman's legendary—and controversial—1960 appearances at New York City's Five Spot jazz club. Though he initially expressed rather mixed feelings for Coleman's innovative music: "...if the free-form guys could play the same tune twice, then I would say they were playing something...Most of the time they use their fingers on the saxophone and they don't even know what's going to come out. They're experimenting." Mingus was in fact a prime influence of the early free jazz era. He formed a quartet with Richmond, trumpeter Ted Curson and saxophonist Eric Dolphy. This ensemble featured the same instruments as Coleman's quartet, and is often regarded as Mingus rising to the challenging new standard established by Coleman. Charles Mingus Presents Charles Mingus was the quartet's only album.


Only one misstep occurred in this era: 1962's Town Hall Concert. An ambitious program, it was unfortunately plagued with troubles from its inception. Mingus's vision, now known as Epitaph, was finally realized by conductor Gunther Schuller in a concert in 1989, 10 years after Mingus's death.


The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady and other Impulse! albums
In 1963, Mingus released The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady, a sprawling, multi-section masterpiece, described as "one of the greatest achievements in orchestration by any composer in jazz history." The album was also unique in that Mingus asked his psychotherapist to provide notes for the record.


Mingus also released Mingus Plays Piano, an unaccompanied album, in 1963. A few pieces were entirely improvised and drew on classical music as much as jazz, preceding Keith Jarrett's landmark The Köln Concert in those respects by some 12 years.


In addition, 1963 saw the release of Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus, an album which was praised by critic Nat Hentoff. 


In 1964 Mingus put together one of his best-known groups, a sextet including Dannie Richmond, Jaki Byard, Eric Dolphy, trumpeterJohnny Coles, and tenor saxophonist Clifford Jordan. The group was recorded frequently during its short existence; Coles fell ill during a European tour. On June 28, 1964 Dolphy died while in Berlin. 1964 was also the year that Mingus met his future wife, Sue Graham Ungaro. The couple were married in 1966 by Allen Ginsberg. Facing financial hardship, Mingus was evicted from his New York home in 1966.


Mingus's pace slowed somewhat in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In 1974 he formed a quintet with Richmond, pianist Don Pullen, trumpeter Jack Walrath and saxophonist George Adams. They recorded two well-received albums, Changes One and Changes Two. Mingus also played with Charles McPherson in many of his groups during this time. Cumbia and Jazz Fusion in 1976 sought to blend Colombian music (the "Cumbia" of the title) with more traditional jazz forms. In 1971, Mingus taught for a semester at the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York as the Slee Professor of Music. 


Later career and death
By the mid-1970s, Mingus was suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, in America known as Lou Gehrig's disease, a wastage of the musculature. His once formidable bass technique suffered, until he could no longer play the instrument. He continued composing, however, and supervised a number of recordings before his death. Eminent music journalist Stephen Davis sympathetically snapshot Mingus's final years in a rare piece titled "Ten Takes on Charles Mingus" published in Zero: Contemporary Buddhist Life and Thought, Vol. 3 (Autumn, 1979).


Mingus did not complete his final project of an album named after him with singer Joni Mitchell, which included lyrics added by Mitchell to Mingus compositions, including "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat", among Mitchell originals and short, spoken word duets and home recordings of Mitchell and Mingus. The album featured the talents of Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, and another influential bassist and composer, Jaco Pastorius. Mingus died aged 56 in Cuernavaca, Mexico, where he had traveled for treatment and convalescence. His ashes were scattered in the Ganges River.