Nearly four decades after his death, Charles Mingus Jr. remains one of the least understood and most recognized jazz composers and musicians of our time. Mingus’s ideas about music, racial identity, and masculinity—as well as those of other individuals in his circle, like Celia Mingus, Hazel Scott, and Joni Mitchell—challenged jazz itself as a model of freedom, inclusion, creativity, and emotional expressivity. Drawing on archival records, published memoirs, and previously conducted interviews, The Kind of Man I Am uses Mingus as a lens through which to craft a gendered cultural history of postwar jazz culture. This book challenges the persisting narrative of Mingus as jazz’s “Angry Man” by examining the ways the language of emotion has been used in jazz as shorthand for competing ideas about masculinity, authenticity, performance, and authority.
“An absorbing, timely, and indeed important book, The Kind of Man I Am introduces a fresh model for thinking about jazz and gender. This is a book that will help rejuvenate the field, pushing its boundaries and opening up new avenues of inquiry.” (John Gennari, associate professor of English and critical race and ethnic studies, University of Vermont)
“Nichole Rustin-Paschal’s astonishing study unpacks the swagger of jazzmasculinity―a cultural figuration often misheard as solely male. By gendering Mingus studies, she challenges us to hear jazz culture as much more. A must read and instant classic.” (Guthrie P. Ramsey, Jr., author of The Amazing Bud Powell: Black Genius, Jazz History and the Challenge of Bebop)