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Charles Mingus
Charles Mingus 1976 cropped.jpg
Performance for the U.S. Bicentennial, New York City, July 4, 1976
Photo by Tom Marcello
Background information
Birth name Charles Mingus Jr.
Born (1922-04-22)April 22, 1922
Nogales, Arizona, U.S.
Origin Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Died January 5, 1979(1979-01-05) (aged 56)
Cuernavaca, Mexico
Genres Jazz, hard bop, bebop, avant-garde jazz, post-bop, Third Stream, orchestral jazz, free jazz
Occupation(s)
  • Musician
  • composer
  • bandleader
Instruments Double bass, piano, cello, percussion
Years active 1943–1979
Labels Atlantic, Candid, Columbia, Debut, Impulse!, Mercury, United Artists
Associated acts Pepper Adams, Jaki Byard, Miles Davis, Eric Dolphy, Duke Ellington, Jimmy Knepper, Joni Mitchell, Charlie Parker, Don Pullen, Dannie Richmond, Max Roach, Jack Walrath

Charles Mingus Jr. (April 22, 1922 – January 5, 1979) was an American jazz double bassist, pianist, composer and bandleader. A major proponent of collective improvisation, he is considered to be one of the greatest jazz musicians and composers in history, with a career spanning three decades and collaborations with other jazz legends such as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Dannie Richmond, and Herbie Hancock.

Mingus's compositions continue to be played by contemporary musicians ranging from 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 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".

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