Spring 1985 • Vol. VII No. 2 Nonfiction |

The Passing of Jazz’s Old Guard: Remembering Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk, and Sonny Stitt

Music is your experience, your thoughts, your wisdom. If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn. CHARLIE PARKER1 For, while the tale of how we suffer, and how we are delighted, and how we may triumph is never new, it always must be heard. There isn't any other tale to tell, it's the only light we've got in all this darkness. JAMES BALDWIN, "Sonny's Blues"2 I suppose that jazz listening and prizefight watching are my two most passionate avocations, and this is largely so because the origins of my aesthetic urges are in the black working class. At times these avocations are a bit difficult to reconcile: boxers like to train in the early afternoon and jazz musicians like to jam late at night. But I think they are, on the whole, more deeply related than one might suspect. They are such direct expressions, not of emotion, but rather of emotive power, and they are such risk-taking endeavors. The most vibrant memories I bear from my childhood are of my uncles crow

Already have an account? Login

Join KR for even more to read.

Register for a free account to read five free pieces a month from our current issue and digital archive.
Register for Free and Read This Piece

Or become a subscriber today and get complete, immediate access to our digital archives at every subscription level.

Read More


Your free registration with Kenyon review incudes access to exclusive content, early access to program registration, and more.


With your support, we’ll continue 
to cultivate talent and publish extraordinary literature from diverse voices around the world.