These performances are dedicated to visionary musician Charles Mingus, centering on political and protest music, spirituality and self-reflection, Charles Mingus’ own expansion of the blues, and the inspiration he took from Duke Ellington. This series heavily features Dr. Johnson’s research and scholarly approach to this music, creating a unique educational experience for the audience.
Opening his imaginative autobiography Beneath the Underdog, Charles Mingus alluded to his multifaceted nature, “in other words, I am three.” Mingus was from the same Southern California community that gave rise to the Pentecostal Church, and he was heavily influenced by the church’s music and traditions. This concert will feature his music reflecting energetic black Christian worship practices and music reflecting Mingus’ own self-reflection. The program will also feature his sound portrait of early human development, “Pithecanthropus Erectus,” and his exquisite “Self-Portrait in Three Colors,” alternatively titled “God’s Portrait.”