Charles Mingus was a composer, bass player and pianist. He also was something of a jazz historian and keeper of the flame, infusing his compositions with the structures and innovations of others such as Duke Ellington and Fats Waller.
Mingus died on Jan. 5, 1979, of Lou Gehrig's disease. A decade later, a 30-year project culminated with a two-hour concert at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall. "Epitaph" was an orchestral masterwork.Columbia Records made a live recording of the concert and it is now available as a double-CD. It is a rich translation, mirroring all the tempestuous thunder of Mingus' composition as well as its sweet melodies and contradicting harmonies.