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  • Writer's pictureNir Yaniv

Mingus X 5

Exactly 99 years ago, jazz giant Charles Mingus was born. To celebrate his birthday, here’s a short true story: At the age of 19 I was not yet a musician, nor aware of Mingus, and spent most of my time wasting the Israeli Air Force’s time, and resources, by pretending to be working. I used to read a lot on the way to and from the base, and one day got myself (yet another) science fiction anthology to fill the time. One Thursday, on the way home (I used to spend two or three weeks in the base before being allowed to visit home for a weekend), I read a weird story in that anthology: the protagonist took a drug which enabled him, for a few hours, to become Charles Mingus. I was intrigued. The next day I went to a CD shop (remember those?) and got me the most Mingus-y album I could find: Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus. That night I listened to it, in my tiny room at home, and didn’t get it. I’ve never heard music like that before. But whoever wrote that story I read had such immense respect towards the musician, that I had to try again. I pressed the “Play” button of my old (even then) CD player, and promptly fell asleep. When I woke up in the morning I made discoveries: the first – the CD player was on repeat-mode, and the album played all night. The second – I’m in forever love with Charlie Mingus. Happy Mingus day, everyone! Do try this at home, kids!

UPDATE: The anthology is “Digital Dreams” (1990), and the story is “The Reconstruction of Mingus” by Phil Manchester.

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