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Myself When I Am Real: The Life and Music of Charles Mingus (Anglais) Broché – 21 février 2002

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

Review from previous edition Physically bearish and imposing, Mingus always seemed even larger psychically, a figure to fill the room, alter the vibes, suck up all the air - a cross between Falstaff and Othello. In his marvellous hall of mirrors, Myself When I Am real, Gene Santoro has grasped him whole, or at least as whole as one can expect from mere prose. Some passages suggest the hammering rhythms of a drum solo, others the sprawl of a Mingusian piano meditation. It is a stunning achievement. (Gary Giddins, author of Visions of Jazz)

Mingus's creative turbulence comes alive. we see how his life and times, including his battles with racism and the musci business and himself, were intimately entwined with his remarkable music. (Cassandra Wilson)

An admirably objective attempt to come to terms with the personal and musical complexity that was Charles Mingus. Gene Santoro's comprehensively researched and critically insightful book makes Mingus as fascinating and as outrageous as Mingus himself seemed to have always wanted to be. (Albert Murray, author of Stomping the Blues)

Présentation de l'éditeur

A pioneering bassist and composer, Mingus redefined jazz's terrain. He penned over 300 works spannig gutbucket gospel, Colombian cumbias, orchestral tone poems, multimedia performance, and chamber jazz. By the time he was 35, his growing body of music won increasing attention as it unfolded into one pioneering musical venture after another, from classical-meets-jazz extended pieces to spoken-word and dramatic performances and television and movie soundtracks. But Mingus got headlines less for his art than for his volatile and often provocative behaviour, which drew fans who wanted to watch his temper suddenly flare onstage. Keeping up with the organized chaos of Mingus's art demanded gymnastic improvisational skills and openness from his musicians, which is why some of them called it "the Sweatshop". He hired and fired musicians on the bandstand, attacked a few musicians physically and many more verbally, twice threw Lionel Hampton's drummer off the stage, and routinely harangued chattering audiences, once chasing a table of inattentive patrons out of the FIVE SPOT with a meat cleaver. But the musical and mental challenges this volcanic man set his bands also nurtured deep loyalties. Jey sidemen stayed with him for years and even decades. In this biography, Santoro probes the sore spots in Mingus's easily wounded nature that helped make him so explosive: his bullying father, his interracila background, his vulnerability to women and distrust of men, his views of political and social issues, his overwhelming need for love and acceptance. Of black, white, and Asian decent, Mingus made race a central issue in his life as well as a crucial aspect of his music, becoming an outspoken (and often misunderstood) critic of racila injustice. Santoro gives us a vivid portrait of Mingus's development, from the racially mixed Watts where he mingled with artists and writers as well as mobsters, union toughs, and pimps to the artistic ferment of postwar Greenwich Village, where he absorbed and extended the radical improvistation flowing through the work of Allen Ginsbert, Jackson Pollock, and Charlie Parker. Indeed, unlike most jazz biographers, Santoro examines Mingus's etra-musical influences - from Orson Welles to Langston Hughes, Farwell Taylor, and Timothy Leary - and illuminates his achievement in the broader cultural context it demands. Written in a lively, novelistic style, "Myself When I Am Real" draws on dozens of new interviews and previously untapped letters and archival materials to explore the intricate connections between this extraordinary man and the extraordinary music he made.

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Détails sur le produit

  • Broché: 480 pages
  • Editeur : OUP USA (21 février 2002)
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 0195147111
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195147117
  • Dimensions du produit: 22,6 x 3,3 x 14,7 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 325.066 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
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Par Oczkowski le 24 avril 2010
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
si vous voulez tout savoir sur la vie de mingus un excellent complément du livre moins qu'un chien
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Amazon.com: 23 commentaires
18 internautes sur 20 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Not just poorly written, but lacking in accuracy as well 22 janvier 2001
Par Thelonious - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
It is a shame that a respectable press like Oxford would publish a book this poorly written and clearly not proof-read. It abounds with grammatical and stylistic errors (ranging from "a unusual" to shifting tense to a complete lack of logical flow). It is also a shame that this is likely to be taken as the standard for some time to come.
For me the worst thing about the book is the wealth of inaccuracies regarding the music. Frequently the author gets song titles mixed up ("Meditations On Integration" was never renamed "So Long Eric" -- those are two entirely different pieces, as anyone who examined a few recordings would know). He gets confused on other points as well (Dolphy is not on "Mingus At Monterey" nor is "Ghost Of A Chance" a Mingus original!). How can I trust his presentation of biographical facts (which I cannot easily check) when he can't get these simple things right?
I was also rather disappointed that the book did not really examine the music in any depth (it is "the life AND MUSIC of..." after all). The fabled 1959 Columbia sessions are given little more than a page each. Few connections are drawn with other works, no mention is made of the augmented instrumentation used on some pieces. He doesn't do any better on other recordings. (Perhaps this just reflects my personal obsessions, but how could one summarize the 1964 European tour by discussing only the Oslo video, never discussing the various performances that have been available to fans over the years? This is a great way to examine Mingus' approach to his music on an almost day-by-day basis). Frankly, my impression is that Santoro hasn't really listened to a lot of the music and perhaps isn't all that interested. Thus I cannot see how one could praise Santoro's "keen insights into the music" (see the Amazon Editorial Review). Calling his discography "thorough" is also misleading.
Other reviewers have pointed out stylistic problems and I heartily concur. The choppiness is not only distracting but can even be misleading. Did Mingus meet Allen Ginsberg in the early 1930s? One might think so from the author's mention of Ginsberg in conjunction with Farwell Taylor at that point in the book, but when one gets to the mid-forties one finds that it was in the forties that they first met. This is not an isolated incident in this shoddily constructed book.
The reason I give it even 2 stars is that it does present a great deal of information not in Priestly's much better book. One really must read both, but the Priestly is MUCH better!!
8 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Subject Matter Itself Worth 3 Stars 26 août 2002
Par Amazon Customer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
Any biography of Mingus should, by the nature of its subject matter, earn at least 3 stars. Mingus is too explosive, too mercurial, too much of an American Original, to have his story add up to anything less. Anything more, of course, is in the hands of the author.
It appears as though Gene Santoro has tried to write the jazz biography as jazz - his transitions are abrubt and curl back on themselves, he reuses several motifs and phrases (sometimes so often they become annoying), and he stitches together various pieces to form a supposedly illuminating whole. However, this book is a patchwork that never really adds up to more than the sum of its parts. Most of the details are here - the ex-wives, the feuds over the music and money, the revolving door of bandmates. Without a doubt there are funny and poignant stories, otherwise what's the point of Mingus? But we never really understand why Charles Mingus is in the pantheon of great 20th Century composers (American or otherwise), or how he started out wanting to be the Orson Welles of jazz and ended up its Aaron Copland. And Santoro's attempts to put either Mingus behavior or Mingus music into the rapidly evolving political and social contexts of the 50s and 60s are the usual broad strokes of jazz biography.
The definitive Mingus biography is still waiting to be written. Read Sue Mingus's "Tonight at Noon" for a touching summation of his later years, read the liner notes to "Black Saint and the Sinner Lady" if you want a glimpse of what music meant to Charles Mingus. Most of all, listen to Mingus. And if you read this book while listening to its subject, don't be surprised if your mind wanders from the printed page.
9 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Seemingly well researched but terribly written 11 décembre 2000
Par H. B. Bennett - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
This bio was compelling yet painful to read. Compelling in terms of subject (the life and times of Charles M.) but agonizing in terms of "kicking back" with a comfortable tome. The "narrative" consists of facts, statements and opinions being thrown at the reader without (generally) any context or follow-up. Characters and scenarios are brought up one moment and abruptly dropped the next. The book will occasionally read like a parody of Larry King's USA Today column! I highly recommend Brian Priestley's Mingus: A Critical Biography over this sophomoric effort.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
not bad, but a little thin 29 octobre 2001
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
This was an engaging read, but ultimately a little disappointing as it didn't really give a clear picture of the people Mingus was involved with throughout his life. Mingus himself comes through clear enough (though even here, the reasons for his breakdown in the late 60s are still a little mysterious), but consider someone like Eric Dolphy. A major figure in the history of jazz, and someone who was important enough to Mingus that he named his son after him, but Santoro doesn't give us much of a sense of who Eric Dolphy was. He doesn't even tell us how he died. The same is true of other figures like Booker Ervin, Jaki Byard, and so on. If you're a jazz fan coming to this book hoping to learn more about these guys and how they worked with Mingus to create all that amazing music, you're going to come away no more enlightened than when you started.
Santoro does get a little hung up on extraneous financial details at the expense of giving a clear sense of these human characters. He also gives some pretty pat and unnecessary capsules of the history of the times through which Mingus lived. (Do we really need anyone to tell us that the 60s were a time of upheaval?) The research shows, but at times he doesn't seem to have fully digested all this material, and he is reduced to quoting Mingus's tax bills and throwing around some fairly meaningless refrains like "He was feeling the zeitgeist again" or "He was his father's son." 2 stars don't seem like quite enough, but 3 seems a little generous. In default of a 2.5 star option, it will do. Oh well.
9 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
His self, though he's none too real 1 août 2000
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
Mingus was mighty. And though Santoro introduces him with great praise and passion, he almost portrays him as a buffoon through his many contradictory phases. And for a music critic, his descriptions of the music and compositions is pretty awful (awkwardly described, incorrect or minus any true appreciation). A few more details about Mingus' personal life than Priestley's musical biography, but otherwise, Priestley's book is infinitely better!
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