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Musicians and muses

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Apr 29, 2005 9:26 am mingusmingusmingus
I was given the chance to catch the Charles Mingus Big Band last night at the MPO. The show was astounding! Sexy sax solos and mellifluous trumpets...all of which, one tune got even the tiniest hair on my arm rise as tall as Lady Liberty.

*being my whimsical self*(reminds me, Tupac Shakur once said....Lady Liberty needs some glasses. Something worth dwelling)

Back to Mingus...this tune, Fables of Faubus, comes from Mingus’ 1959 album Mingus Ah Um (one of four albums released by him that year.)
The tune itself is a scathing commentary by Mingus on Governor Orval E. Faubus, who was tried to block the integration of schools in Arkansas in 1957. The original tune actually features Mingus and drummer Dannie Richmond chanting such lines as:
“Name me someone who’s ridiculous, Dannie.”
“Governor Faubus!”
“Why is he so sick and ridiculous?”
“He won’t permit integrated schools!”
“Then he’s a fool! Boo! Nazi Supremists!”

Needless to say, Columbia wasn’t too crazy about Mingus including these lyrics on this particular album, so Mingus had to release another version on his own record label a year later (much to his annoyance.)
The compositional structure of the tune is quite interesting in that it features Mingus’ trademark stylistic and meter shifts as well as an interesting melody throughout.
Music lovers should check out Mingus’ use of space in this tune to create tension. Pease make sure there are no bolo knives lying around when you do though...

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