Friday, May 15, 2015

Charles Mingus - “Fables of Faubus” (Jazz video & lyrics)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post showcases Charles Mingus' Jazz composition “Fables of Faubus”.

Information about Charles Mingus, a video of "Fables of Faubus", background information about this composition and its song lyrics are included in this post.

The content of this post is presented for cultural, motivational, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to Charles Mingus and his band for their musical legacy. Thanks also to the producer of this video and the publisher of these videos on YouTube.

"Charles Mingus Jr. (April 22, 1922 – January 5, 1979) was a highly influential American jazz double bassist, composer and bandleader. Mingus's compositions retained the hot and soulful feel of hard bop and drew heavily from black gospel music and blues while sometimes drawing on elements of Third Stream, free jazz, and classical music. Yet Mingus avoided categorization, forging his own brand of music that fused tradition with unique and unexplored realms of jazz. He once cited Duke Ellington and church as his main influences...

Nearly as well known as his ambitious music was Mingus's often fearsome temperament, which earned him the nickname "The Angry Man of Jazz". His refusal to compromise his musical integrity led to many onstage eruptions, exhortations to musicians, and dismissals.[1] Because of his brilliant writing for midsize ensembles, and his catering to and emphasizing the strengths of the musicians in his groups, Mingus is often considered the heir of Duke Ellington, for whom he expressed great admiration. Indeed, Dizzy Gillespie had once claimed Mingus reminded him "of a young Duke", citing their shared "organizational genius".

Mingus' compositions continue to be played by contemporary musicians ranging from the repertory bands Mingus Big Band, Mingus Dynasty, and Mingus Orchestra, to the high school students who play the charts and compete in the Charles Mingus High School Competition."

From "Jazz and the Civil Rights Movement: How Jazz Musicians Spoke Out for Racial Equality" By Jacob Teichroew
"Charles Mingus was known for being angry and outspoken on the bandstand. One expression of his anger was certainly justified, and it came in response to the 1957 Little Rock Nine incident in Arkansas, when Governor Orval Faubus used the National Guard to prevent black students from entering a newly desegregated public high school.

Mingus displayed his outrage at the event by composing a piece entitled “Fables of Faubus.” The lyrics, which he penned as well, offer some of the most blatant and harshest critiques of Jim Crow attitudes in all of jazz activism."

From [video below]
claudia reed, 2013
"Here's the story behind the music: Nine high-achieving African-American students tried to attend classes at all-white Little Rock Central High School in 1957, following a Supreme Court finding that segregation was unconstitutional. Governor Orval Faubus, being sick and ridiculous, as the music reports, called out armed Arkansas National Guardsmen to keep these 15-year-old kids from entering the school building, while white men and women spat in the kids' faces. President Eisenhower countered by sending in the 101st Airborne Division of the U.S. Army. Once inside the school, the kids were attacked verbally or physically by white students throughout the year. Students attempted to set one girl on fire and splashed acid in the face of another, attempting to blind her. All nine not only survived, but thrived. Two became university professors, one became Deputy Assistant Director of the Interior in the administration of President Clinton, and another became Secretary of Labor in the administration of President Carter. A good life is the best revenge."

(Charles Mingus)

Oh, Lord, don't let 'em shoot us!
Oh, Lord, don't let 'em stab us!
Oh, Lord, don't let 'em tar and feather us!
Oh, Lord, no more swastikas!
Oh, Lord, no more Ku Klux Klan!

Name me someone who's ridiculous, Dannie.*
Governor Faubus!
Why is he so sick and ridiculous?
He won't permit integrated schools.

Then he's a fool! Boo! Nazi Fascist supremists!
Boo! Ku Klux Klan (with your Jim Crow plan)

Name me a handful that's ridiculous, Dannie Richmond.*
Faubus, Rockefeller, Eisenhower
Why are they so sick and ridiculous?

Two, four, six, eight:
They brainwash and teach you hate.
H-E-L-L-O, Hello.

Orval E. Faubus was the governor of Arkansas in 1957 and against desegregation. He sent the National Guard to prevent black children from attending high school in Little Rock.

Fables of Faubus appears on the "Mingus Ah-Um".

*The lines followed by an asterisk are questions that Charles Mingus directed to his band's drummer, Dannie Richmond. Richmond answers the question in the remaining lines of those verses. Charles Mingus then replies "then he's a fool etc. And also replies with the rhyme "Two four six eight" etc. The "hello" may be intereprested to mean "Can you hear me?" ("Can you hear what I'm saying?" African Americans still use "Hello" that way today.

Here's information about Dannie Richmond from
"Richmond, Dannie (Charles Daniel)

Dannie Richmond was Charles Mingus's musical foil over twenty years. In Richmond, Mingus found a saxophonist-turned-drummer who executed all of the mercurial composer's twists and turns with sophistication and melodic grace. Often overlooked, Richmond's playing merits closer attention, and it is an essential link in the Mingus chain. The two men remained best friends and musical kindred spirits amidst chaotic lifestyles and addictions. Mingus didn�t trust many, but he always trusted Richmond."...


The Killing of Lost Celluloid, Uploaded on Mar 15, 2010

Charles Mingus: Original Faubus Fables from the album Mingus presents Mingus.

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