Mingus Drive

Mingus Drive was christened on February 26th, 1979, mere weeks after the death of legendary jazz bassist/pianist/composer Charles Mingus Jr. (1922-1979). Given the timing, I doubt it’s a coincidence, although I found no evidence that anyone in Watt Industries – this neighborhood’s developers – had any love for or ties to the man himself. They may well have outsourced street naming duties to county civil engineers, who chose “Mingus” because the name was in the news and hadn’t been used for a street yet. Charles Mingus himself was an L.A. icon: Born in Arizona, his family moved to Watts when he was a baby. (His mother died shortly after that.) There Mingus graduated from Jordan High School in 1940; a classmate, Buddy Collette, would collaborate with him throughout his career. So much has already been written about Mingus that I won’t go on, especially as I can’t be sure this street is named for him.