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The Arts

May 28, 1993|SHAUNA SNOW | Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation's press

Mingus' Library: Fourteen years after his death, Charles Mingus next week will become the first African-American jazz musician to have his full body of compositions, letters, essays and tapes acquired by the U.S. Library of Congress. "This is the greatest, most important body of work related to a jazz composer that we've acquired," library spokesman Jon Newsom said of the unique compositions that mixed blues, gospel, Latin, swing, be-bop, classical, chants and improvisational cries. Mingus, who played mainly in nightclubs during his lifetime but is now getting his due, titled his most ambitious work "Epitaph" and left it in his closet, figuring correctly that the 2 1/2-hour piece for 31 musicians wouldn't be played in his lifetime. It wasn't performed until 1989.

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