Squaz, Flavio Massarutto
“Anybody can make the simple complicated. Creativity is making the complicated simple.” – Charles Mingus
“I play what I am. I play Mingus.”
This comic biography tells the troubled life, the battles against racism, the brilliant music of a master who has left an indelible mark on the jazz scene and beyond. From his beginnings in Los Angeles in the 1940s to his heartbreaking end in Mexico, the story of a man of indomitable and rebellious talent who crossed styles while always remaining himself, in perpetual struggle against a society that wanted him marginalized and subordinated.
Bass player and pianist, composer and band leader, Charles Mingus is universally recognized as one of the greatest musicians in the history of jazz. An overflowing talent, who experienced the last fires of the swing age, the Bebop revolution, the experimental seasons of Third Stream and Jazz Poetry up to Free Jazz. But he was also a tormented and angry soul, a man who, due to his mestizo origins, always had to deal with the hostility of American society.
Journalist Flavio Massarutto and artist Squaz (Pasquale Todisco) retrace the stages of Mingus’s journey, giving life to a non-canonical biography, which proceeds in paginated episodes like a succession of passages that form a musical suite: fragments of existence told by fishing from interviews, writings, testimonies and historical facts. The portrait of a musician who is the mirror of an era comes out of a brilliant composer who was also one of the most clearly committed artists in denouncing racism, with real manifesto pieces such as the famous Fable of Faubus denouncing the segregationist governor of Arkansas.
In the words of Massarutto and in the evocative art of Squaz, which also reinterpret some of the famous covers of Mingus records, we relive the burning parable of a restless man, always in search of perfection, in constant struggle with himself and with the world: a master capable of leaving an indelible mark on the musical and cultural panorama of the twentieth century.
7×10, 160pp., full color HC, $29.99, ISBN 9781681123097;e-book: $19.99, ISBN 9781681123103