Charles Mingus Birthday Broadcast

Charles Mingus Birthday Broadcast
Monday, April 22, 2024 - 12:00am to 11:59pm

WKCR is thrilled to announce a birthday broadcast in honor of bassist, composer, and cultural icon Charles Mingus, born April 22, 1922, in Nogales, AZ. The broadcast is scheduled for 24 hours on Monday, April 22.

One of the most fascinating artists of the 20th century, Charles Mingus was a prolific and skilled composer, a virtuosic bass player, an accomplished pianist, and a strong bandleader. Yet, it's impossible to divorce the music he created from his bold personality. The seemingly endless stories detailing wild situations and turbulent behavior––such as him brandishing a fire ax at trombonist Juan Tizol while they were both in Duke Ellington’s band, or Mingus leaving half way through the recording session for “Money Jungle” after complaining about Max Roach’s playing––have become legend, and cast Mingus as an almost mystical-type figure. He carried with him an aura of unpredictability, and communicated in a way that required the audience and listeners to decipher his unique lexicon, moving to his plane of understanding and navigating his terms of communication.

The result is a musical legacy that transcends mere notes on a page, weaving intricate tapestries of raw emotion and genius intellect. Mingus’s compositions are like a journey, and they force us to explore the depths of our own human experience through the process of trying to decipher what exactly he is trying to say (who else is capable of naming a song “The Shoes of the Fisherman's Wife Are Some Jive Ass Slippers”?). Whether or not one can actually get to the bottom of what Mingus’s true artistic vision was, it is clear that he had a unique understanding deeper than most people of himself, society, and how he wanted to express that in his compositions and playing. His music is a celebration of life's complexities, embracing the chaos and beauty of existence with equal fervor. In the realm of Black American Music, Mingus stands as a towering figure, and his music will undoubtedly serve as a beacon of innovation and inspiration for generations to come.

Stay tuned for a programming schedule which will be released in the coming weeks leading up to the broadcast. Listeners can tune in to the WKCR birthday broadcast of Charles Mingus on 89.9FM or stream it live on our website, Follow WKCR on Instagram (@wkcr) and Twitter (@WKCRFM) for updates about the special broadcast and future events. Online listening is available 24/7 at via our web stream.