Sue, an unexplained coincidence, & how to play a dissonant chord.

Written by on November 6, 2022

Post Show Elaborations….


I started the hour with a mention of the Jazz Workshop that “Mingus started with his wife.” His wife’s name was Sue. To talk about her, we have to go all the way back to the 5 spot.

What’s that you say? This was a jazz club, only open from the years 1956-1967, yet, its legacy is seen in covers, titles, stories, and names that jazz fans are very familiar with. It was one of those clubs you wish you could time travel to.

When Sue met Charles she didn’t know a thing about jazz. Her assignment that day, as a budding actress was to “stop being out of it” , said the director who sent her to the 5 spot to get hip.

The film at hand she was in was concerned with her spending her time learning about Ornette Coleman. But, that visit to the 5 spot started a mad love affair, not with Coleman. She did a fine job telling the rest of this story,  in her book and articles.

After Mingus died she worked to maintain his legacy including but not limited to a school and nonprofit. Sue’s Changes, a smoky mysterious, excitedly sly number, which is likely how that love affair was, is a sneak peek to next week..when I explore the 60’s/70’s Mingus.


So…I said you might think that Work Song “sounds familiar” …and now this elaboration. Well, honestly, I find it has a resemblance to “The Pink Panther theme” (originally written by Henry Mancini).

Dont laugh. Did anyone else think this? Listen again.

Another writer, Marshall Gu, has thought the recording at 11:11 of New Fables from Right Now, sounds like the famous Mancini theme as well.

Wild. How can this be?

Well. First off, Mingus did not write “Work Song”, it was written by Cannonball Adderly.

Secondly, I have no idea. Whether Mancini’s diversion from his usual to write Pink Panther was influenced by Adderly’s version, or, Mingus’ version from 1964 or is absolutely uninfluenced, I have no more information…but would love to have more…so if you know a bit about Mancini…or if you wish to discuss this, do contact me.


My last elaboration is this. I talked about atonality and dissonance, as a disclaimer, a definition, and a possible 16th century Mingus inspiration.

Funny, a friend after the show said, “some of those songs made me want to howl at the moon”.

But folks, here is a practical application for yourself….

So, You too can play a little dissonance. ( If you have access to a piano or keyboard)…try it out yourself! Here’s a chord to try. Its a beautiful phenomenon.

C7 #9


Past show…

no. #2 Nov 6:

| Charles Mingus. Part 1. Selected 1953-1965’s releases |


Coming up…..

no. #3

Nov 11:

| Charles Mingus Part 2. Selected 1963-1979 releases |

Lolli’s Lifesaver: Jazz Bass In Your Head

Sunday at 3 PST. // KPSU


References I made in the show.

(First Names of Authors mentioned on air only….more about these articles are here.)

  1. Jazz Workshop, Inc.

  2. Steven A. Cerra | Jazz Profiles | Tuesday, December 15, 2020 | Charles Mingus and The Jazz Workshop

  3. James P. Kinney | 12 note serialism |

  4. Josh Cottell | Damn! That’s Crunchy: Very Brief Thoughts on Dissonance in Jazz| Feb 2, 2018 by The Poor Print |

  5. Greg Cahill | March-April 2022 issue | Strings magazine |

Below you will find the “played” playlist.






  • Pink Topsy-Alternate Take
    Charles Mingus
    Debut Rarities, vol. 1 | 1953
  • Eclipse
    Charles Mingus
    Debut Rarities, vol. 1 | 1953
  • Cunningbird
    Jimmy Knepper Quintet
    Debut Rarities, vol. 1 | 1953
  • A Foggy Day
    The Charles Mingus, Max Roach
    The Charles Mingus Quintet Plus Max Roach (Live) | 1955
  • Thrice Upon A Theme
    Charles Mingus; John LaPorta
    Jazzical Moods | 1955
  • Work Song - Live
    Charles Mingus
    Mingus At The Bohemia | 1955
  • The Spur of the Moment
    Charles Mingus
    The Jazz Experiments Of Charles Mingus (2013 - Remaster) | 1955
  • II B.S
    Charles Mingus
    Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus-1963
  • Freedom
    Charles Mingus
    Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus-1963

  • Show Notes & Show Blogs


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