Mingus: Stickin’ It To The Man

With Lion's Head Scroll on French Bass

With lion's head scroll french bass

This is some great footage from Thomas Reichman’s 1961 documentary Mingus: Charlie Mingus 1968. Watch as the NYC Department of Sanitation trucks away his possessions, including one of his upright basses, and as the NYPD subsequently arrests him for possession of hypodermic needles. It’s a sad state of affairs, but worth watching, especially given the current debate raging over law enforcement and racial profiling. FTP.

A few choice quotes from Charlie:

“Blood is not my bag. Broads is my bag.”

“I think America is beautiful.”

“I hope the Communists blow you people up.”


Bonus footage: Punk Rock Mingus.



Filed under Media, Music, Quotes

3 responses to “Mingus: Stickin’ It To The Man

  1. keithedwardiii

    Don’t know too much about basses, so I tried to find out what’s different about a French bass from an upright bass. Google failed me, but I know you won’t.

    Anyway, a beautiful instrument, and apparently it’s still being played:


    The lion’s head is intriguing. I wonder what it meant to him.

  2. tylerbenz

    It’s my understanding that French basses, as the name implies, are simply basses manufactured in France.

    stringemporium.com explains, “French basses for sure, are the most under rated (and highly undervalued basses in the world.) While anyone that has spent even an afternoon searching for information about upright basses will quickly ascertain that Italian basses are King! With all the celebrity status that Italian basses enjoy, in the past 20-30 years, English basses have really almost equaled their prestige and have caught up to about the same prices. Italians never really mass produced basses. The English, made many basses (often some Italian copies) and liked to make the same models. (See our English upright basses page for more about them.) The French, had several things going in their favor. For one, they had a whole industry of bass making. They made basses for everyone: students, amateurs, king’s courts, and professional orchestra and ballets as well.”

    The lion’s head bass is fairly common as far as bass heads go, at least from what I’ve seen/read… I doubt it has any specific symbolism for Charlie, besides being fuckin’ badass as hell.

    If that doesn’t adequately satiate your thirst for knowledge, please accept this in lieu: The Charles Mingus Cat Toilet Training Program.


    Love, Tyler.

    • keithedwardiii

      As I said, I knew you wouldn’t disappoint: “Don’t be surprised if you hear the toilet flush in the middle of the night…His main thing is to cover up.”

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