‘Fresh Air’ marks the centennial of jazz great Charles Mingus

‘Fresh Air’ marks the centennial of jazz great Charles Mingus

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:This is FRESH AIR. One hundred years ago today, the great jazz bassist, composer and bandleader Charles Mingus was born in Nogales, Ariz. Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead says Mingus was a larger than life and often difficult figure, a complicated man of deep feeling whose music reflected his outsized personality.(SOUNDBITE OF CHARLES MINGUS’ “MINGUS FINGERS”)KEVIN WHITEHEAD, BYLINE: “Mingus Fingers,” 1948. Charles Mingus always thought big. He had big passions and appetites he exaggerated in his zingy, autobiographical novel “Beneath The Underdog.