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Charles Mingus

Charles MingusBASSIST, COMPOSER Charles Mingus didn't spend all that long living in Los Angeles, but it was as a boy growing up in Watts that the seeds of his incredibly complex musical heritage took root. Trained from an early age in formal bass and composition, he also picked up more vernacular forms of music from the church and from the jazz he listened to on the radio. An early advocate of artists' rights, Mingus settled in New York in the 1950s, where he established his own record and publishing companies and founded the Jazz Workshop, dedicated to helping young composers perform and record their work. Widely considered to be among the most innovative of jazz composers, he recorded more than 100 albums and also wrote concert pieces and ballet scores before his death of Lou Gehrig's disease in 1979 at age 56. United Press International
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