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CHARLES MINGUS: TRIUMPH OF THE UNDERDOG

Netherlands, 1997 (MIFF 1998, Pump Up The Volume)

Director: Don McGlynn

Don McGlynn's (Dexter Gordon: More Than You Know, MIFF 1997) brutally honest, obsessively researched and thoroughly moving account of Jazz giant, Charles Mingus. Audiences will leave McGlynn's bio-pic with both a profound appreciation for Mingus' immense talent and taken aback by his prodigious output and, on occasion, tumultuous lifestyle.

Triumph of the Underdog with only the benefit of a chronological exposition of the facts of Mingus' life - as opposed to a trite voice-over - imparts a definite sense of fermenting genius packed into the mixed race frame of a supremely accomplished bassist and pianist (amongst other instruments, Mingus also studied Trombone early in his musical education) and a composer of such mastery that some pundits claim that many jazz notables never played better than under Mingus' tutelage.

Mingus' heritage played a significant role in his life, the legend's outsider stance determined as much by his perception that he belonged to neither black or white fraternity, because of his parents' racial backgrounds as the sophistication of the compositional notions that he put down on paper. A film rightly acclaimed as one of the finest of its kind.

"Mingus was an artist whose life was extremely dramatic and heart wrenching. This film gives a clear eyed picture of his restless creative process and a life full of trauma, frustration and joy. The film was nine years in the making and finally we have a full bodied document of this great artist which pulls into focus his beguilingly complex personality." - Don McGlynn

Director and producer Don McGlynn has made numerous documentaries, many of them musical biographies. His film Dexter Gordon: More Than You Know screened at MIFF last year, other works include Art Pepper: Notes From a Jazz Survivor (1982), The Mills Brothers Story (1986), The Spike Jones Story (1988) and Glenn Miller: America's Musical Hero (1992).

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