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I Know What I Know: The Music of Charles Mingus by Todd S. Jenkins

Todd S. Jenkins’ I Know What I Know: The Music of Charles Mingus is the kind of book reserved for the best of the best. Few musicians can expect their musical output (excluding tales of lovers, spouses, money problems and children) to become the sole topic of a book. But Charlie Mingus, for a variety of reasons, is that type of figure now.

Jenkins states routine facts about Mingus’ recordings and performances in a simple manner, and only now and then digs deeper to tell the stories behind the songs. It works for the most part; literary riffing, what many jazz critics are prone to, is absent here. This is a quick-hit book, Mingus for Dummies, but written carefully.

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