Haitian Fight Song by Charles Mingus

Although jazz bassist Charles Mingus was best known for his musical accomplishments, he was a renaissance man with interests in surprising areas, namely the Charles Mingus Cat Toilet Training Program.

Mingus writes that it took him three or four weeks to toilet train his own cat, and that he wasn’t able to train it to flush consistently – if you want to learn how, you can get the details at his website: http://mingusmingusmingus.com/mingus/cat-traning-program. I don’t have a cat, and I doubt my pet chickens are trainable, but let me know how you get on.

Of course, Mingus is notable for many things aside from cat toilet training. He released landmark jazz albums like Mingus Ah Um and The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady, and supported other luminaries like Louis Armstrong and Charlie Parker. The story of his death is also memorable; on 5 January 1979, he died at the age on 56 in Mexico, and was cremated the next day. On the same day, 56 sperm whales were beached on the Mexican coastline, and were removed by fire.


    • I don’t even know this album actually – the only ones I’m familiar with are Black Saint and Mingus Ah Um, so I decided to familiarise myself with a new one for the purposes of this post. I really didn’t talk about the music much – it was essentially a bunch of Mingus gossip….

      • And very entertaining too. Cat training!
        Have a listen to The Clown. It’s really fine as an album, but the memorable track is the title one with its narration of an allegorical story.

  1. Our cat is 18 years old and would probably just give me a withering glare if I tried to toilet train him. We did successfully toilet train two tiny human beings, though…


  2. I forgot about the”cat” thing. I did see him eat dirt. True story. Listening the the cut you posted. I’m a big fan of his music. And Charles and I are big fans of Ellington (along with a lot of other people)

      • I never seen him live. I was just a kid and He was on a local cable show and the host brought him a bag of dirt, Mingus took a pinch, ate it and asked the host “Where did you get this dirt?”. The guy told him “By my tree”. Charles said “Don’t ever get me dirt from under a tree”.

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