Charles Mingus
Charles Mingus

Begin your weekend with this hour-long intimate documentary portrait of jazz great Charles Mingus by documentarian, Thomas Reichman.

The story in brief… In November of 1966, Mingus was forcibly evicted from his apartment in New York City. At the time, Mingus, suffering from mental illness as well as financial difficulties, performed regularly as a bandleader at clubs in New York and festivals around the country. However, he became known for erratic behavior both on and off the stage, that sometimes ended in violence against fellow musicians or audience members.

From 1967 to 1972, stricken with severe depression, he rarely appeared in public. However, he gradually recovered enough to make a comeback. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for composition in 1971, and he renewed his activities as a recording artist and performer the following year.

Mingus was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease) in 1977. Seeking treatment for the disease, he was with his wife, Susan, in Cuernavaca, Mexico, when he died of a heart attack on January 5, 1979, a few months after completing work on his final studio project – a collaboration with singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell that was released in June 1979.

In addition to his many recordings, Mingus left behind a memoir titled “Beneath the Underdog,” published in 1971.

Watch the hour-long “Mingus” below: