Beneath the underdog
His World As Composed by Mingus
Autobiography of the great black musician and jazz composer. Beneath the Underdog is like no other autobiographical work of our time. It is a volcano of a book ~the wild, funny, demonic, dirty, anguished, shocking, and above all profoundly moving self~portrait of the great black musician and jazz composer Charles Mingus. It has been more than twenty years and a thousand manuscript pages in the writing. From his earliest adulthood, in moments of self~confrontation Mingus has grappled on paper with his world and his experiences: his childhood in the Watts of the twenties and thirties, ruled by a strap~wielding father. by a Bible~quoting stepmother, and by an unremitting fear of the Lord; his outcast adolescent years ("A yell a kid, running with the mongrels"); his apprenticeship~not only with jazzmen but with pimps, hookers, junkies, and hoodlums~in bars and clubs up and down the West Coast. From his earliest recollections to the 1950's and the big time in the Big Apple~with Ellington, Hampton, Miles Davis, Charlie "Bird" Parker, and Dizzy Gillespie~he has poured out a torrent of memories fantasies, loves, and furies expressing an essential black experience and an experience uniquely his own.