Open Letter


I have never had access to or financial benefit from the Estate of Charles Mingus. Throughout the years, I have made many attempts to forge a connection.             All have been rejected.

The love and joy with which Charles has been presented to the world was central in my understanding of him. However, his image and memory have been closely guarded and controlled. One voice cannot define the legacy of a man who touched millions.

Feeling resistance to reach into this side of my heritage led me to discover a better way of understanding my grandfather and my own lineage. This belief is realized in this documentary, collecting different perspectives that all together shape a more complex and genuine figure of Charles Mingus as a man and as an artist.

While the lack of support from the Mingus Estate is disheartening, the warmth and encouragement I receive from Charles’ children and the jazz community is what makes this journey so special. Their faces, voices and all the intangible power of what they share are the greater part of the fabric I am weaving into my story. The story of jazz, Charles and me.

Kevin Ellington Mingus

Three Or Four Shades Of Blues In 51 Songs Of Love

8 responses to “Open Letter

  1. Raz

    Dear Kevin,
    If I was the one to decide….you would get so much support from the Mingus Estate !!!!
    i Hope some of the jazz fans i sent to Kickstarter will help raise the rest of the money !!!
    Good luck and Jazzers unite !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Sad, but not surprised to hear about Sue’s cold shoulder—all the more reason why you project must succeed.

  3. mingus on mingus fan

    I am not sure who said it but that saying about the Journey being more important than the destination ..really is true in this case. What you are learning about yourself as a man and how so much of who you are comes from where you have been.. its very easy to see where you are going.
    If Charles were alive today what a pair the 2 of you would have made.

  4. Dear Kevin,

    You have all my public support

    Good luck and courage

    Juan Carlos Hernandez
    Jazz Photographer

  5. Pingback: Mingus vs. Mingus re: Mingus on Mingus? | Ottawa Citizen

  6. KEM-

    You have embarked on a truly wonderful and worthy endeavor. It is unfortunate that the Mingus estate refuses to help, but I would expect nothing less from a woman who hoards old Mingus recordings in order to profit, as opposed to allowing them to be discovered by musicians who need this man’s work. I am thankful for this project and await the finished product with much excitement. Mingus was a visionary whose talents and contributions far exceed almost every other figure in American music. I am lucky to have ever stumbled upon his work and proudly recommend it to every musician I encounter. He has had a profound impact on my music as well as the music world at large. You have my utmost support, KEM. May you find nothing but help and kindness along the way.


  7. Ernst

    Only wanted to let you know that I’m still on your side – keep going.

  8. karl fallend

    your project is really impressive. good luck and best wishes from vienna / austria. karl fallend

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