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Night Lights Classic Jazz

Word From Mingus

MingusOn this edition of Night Lights it’s “Word From Mingus,” a program of Charles Mingus’ 1950s spoken-word collaborations with poet Langston Hughes, monologuist Jean Shepherd (who would go on to write and narrate A Christmas Story), and actor Melvin Stewart. We’ll also hear Mingus’ own performance of his piece “Chill of Death,” written when Mingus was a teenager in the late 1930s and recorded for release on the 1972 album Let My Children Hear Music.

Music Heard On This Episode

Miss D.D.
Mary Lou Williams — Black Christ of the Andes (Smithsonian Folkways, 1964)
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Miss D.D.
Mary Lou Williams — Black Christ of the Andes (Smithsonian Folkways, 1964)

Notes: Opening theme.

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Weird Nightmare/Jump Monk
Langston Hughes/Charles Mingus — Weary Blues (Verve, 1958)
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Scenes From the City
Charles Mingus — A Modern Jazz Symposium of Music and Poetry (Bethlehem, 1957)

Notes: Narrated by actor Melvin Stewart; written by actor Lonnie Elders, with assistance from Langston Hughes

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Consider Me/The Stranger/Midnight Stroll/Backstage/Dream Montage
Langston Hughes/Charles Mingus — Weary Blues (Verve, 1958)
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The Clown
Charles Mingus — The Clown (Atlantic/Rhino, 1957)

Notes: Narrated by Jean Shepherd (later author and narrator of the movie A CHRISTMAS STORY).

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The Chill of Death
Charles Mingus — Let My Children Hear Music (Columbia/Legacy, 1972)

Notes: Written by Mingus as a teeanger in 1939; recorded in 1972

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Night Lights
Gerry Mulligan — Night Lights (Polygram, 1963)

Notes: Outro theme

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