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Directed by Thomas Reichman




58 minutes


This classic, black-and-white vérité documentary by filmmaker Thomas Reichman finds legendary bassist and composer Charles Mingus in a time of great transition in his life. As he and his five-year-old daughter await eviction by the City of New York, we’re given a particular glimpse into Mingus's philosophies, passions, anguish, and of course, his music. By turns, frank, tender, and shocking, he speaks candidly on topics ranging from music to sex to racism. The tall tales and odd musings filmed in his disheveled loft are intercut with footage around New York and intimate live performances with his quintet in a nightclub near Boston.

"Of all the jazz portraits on film I can think of, this is the one most clearly shaped by the film's subject, moment by moment, and Mingus makes it full of as many mood swings and tempo changes as one of his own compositions" – Chicago Reader