One of the reasons I like Mingus/Like Listening to Mingus

Ted Curson, Trumpet:

CursonreDolphyimagesAfter a yearlong stint with Cecil Taylor that resulted in one concert and a recording for United Artists (Love For Sale, 1959 or 1957 [depending on who one asks]), Curson joined Charles Mingus in a quartet in 1960, with reedman Eric Dolphy as a foil. “I got a phone call from a friend of mine and he said ‘I got a call from Mingus and I don’t want to play with that crazy motherf*cker. You want to take my place?’ It was in Teddy Charles’ loft, and there were a 1,000 or something musicians in there jamming, and I met Mingus and we played and everybody dropped out and that was it. He said ‘maybe one day I’ll call you’ and about two or three months later I get a call at about midnight and it’s Mingus. ‘Ted Curson? Charlie Mingus here. You start right now. I’m at the Showplace in the Village and as soon as you get here, you go to work.’ I got there and he said ‘Okay ladies and gentleman, here’s your new band – Ted Curson and Eric Dolphy – and you other cats are fired!’ Curson stayed with the Mingus group through 1961, including an important performance at the Antibes Jazz Festival in France in July of 1960. Curson was the group’s media spokesperson, which was a good thing for the trumpeter, as his image became more firmly rooted in the European public – laying the groundwork for a warm European reception a few years later. For Curson, “the main thing I picked up from Mingus was to ‘do your own shit, straight ahead no matter what.’

My Big Sister Wallops a Bully

After your tumble down the stairs in the pram, I was charged with taking a very black and blue you to the store, past the gauntlet of Roy Smith and his gang of bullies.  They started taunting margme about how you looked, and I had just had enough. I hauled off and gave Roy a good right hook to his left cheek. He didn’t see it coming from preacher’s daughter me. It must have hurt, because, he said,  “That dame sure can hit.”   One of my Gretna memories. Today, I’ d be charged with assault and sentenced to doing community service.(No priors).

Victor Enns writes poetry, reads,and reviews fiction. Boy (Hagios 2012) was published in May, and Lucky Man, (Hagios 2005) was short-listed for the McNally Robinson Book of the Year Award.

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