Skip to main content

Jazz Master

March 2023
1min read

Thirteen Pictures: The Charles Mingus Anthology

Rhino Records R2 71402 (two CDs)

The composer and bassist Charles Mingus, who died in 1979, was something of a lone giant on the landscape of jazz. He came of age in the swing era but emerged from it a relentless, uncompromising innovator who never ceased surprising with his brilliant, dense, rugged music. This collection of recordings from between 1952 and 1978 offers an excellent survey of the wide range of his creativity. He improvises alone at the piano with quiet lyricism, leads small groups that stretch blues, soul, and gospel materials in new directions, and plays elaborate extended works up to twenty-seven minutes long with as many as two dozen other musicians and instruments as diverse as contrabass clarinet, piccolo, cello, and oboe. The masterpieces here include “Meditations on Integration,” “Pithecanthropus Erectus,” and “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat.” As they amply demonstrate, he often took great risks in trying to combine large-scale structure with improvisatorial freedom for his players, but never without extraordinary energy and comrhand and intelligence. He made jazz sway and stomp with a ragged complexity unlike anyone before or since.

We hope you enjoy our work.

Please support this 72-year tradition of trusted historical writing and the volunteers that sustain it with a donation to American Heritage.


Stories published from "April 1994"

Authored by: James W. Wensyel

Alone among all American battlefields, the scene of the Civil War’s costliest encounter is patrolled by government-licensed historians who keep alive for visitors the memory of what happened there

Authored by: The Editors

The American Gas Station: History and Folklore of the Gas Station in American Car Culture

Authored by: The Editors

The New Roadside America

Authored by: The Editors

Henry James: Collected Travel Writings

Authored by: The Editors

Crossing & Cruising

Authored by: The Editors

Kings in Disguise

Authored by: The Editors

Key West Tales

Authored by: The Editors

Viva Las Vegas: After-Hours Architecture

Authored by: The Editors

Zephyr: Tracking a Dream Across America

Authored by: The Editors

The Atomic Cafe

Featured Articles

Rarely has the full story been told how a famed botanist, a pioneering female journalist, and First Lady Helen Taft battled reluctant bureaucrats to bring Japanese cherry trees to Washington. 

Why have thousands of U.S. banks failed over the years? The answers are in our history and politics.

Often thought to have been a weak President, Carter was strong-willed in doing what he thought was right, regardless of expediency or political fallout.

In his Second Inaugural Address, Abraham Lincoln embodied leading in a time of polarization, political disagreement, and differing understandings of reality.

Native American peoples and the lands they possessed loomed large for Washington, from his first trips westward as a surveyor to his years as President.

A hundred years ago, America was rocked by riots, repression, and racial violence.

During Pres. Washington’s first term, an epidemic killed one tenth of all the inhabitants of Philadelphia, then the capital of the young United States.

Now a popular state park, the unassuming geological feature along the Illinois River has served as the site of centuries of human habitation and discovery.  

The recent discovery of the hull of the battleship Nevada recalls her dramatic action at Pearl Harbor and ultimate revenge on D-Day as the first ship to fire on the Nazis.

Our research reveals that 19 artworks in the U.S. Capitol honor men who were Confederate officers or officials. What many of them said, and did, is truly despicable.

Here is probably the most wide-ranging look at Presidential misbehavior ever published in a magazine.

When Germany unleashed its blitzkreig in 1939, the U.S. Army was only the 17th largest in the world. FDR and Marshall had to build a fighting force able to take on the Nazis, against the wishes of many in Congress.