Haden skedaddled out of there that night as the place erupted in chaos, but the impression of a fiery and vengeful giant of jazz stayed with him, as did the lesson beneath Mingus' outsized actions directed unsparingly at his fellow band member - don't just play the music, don't just play notes, play yourself when you're up there, anything else is crap not to be tolerated.
Or as Haden's longtime collaborator and master of self-expression Ornette Coleman puts it "your thoughts, your feelings, your mood, your politics, your anger, your joy, your love."
Both men, along with fellow musicians Miles Davis and Dave Brubeck, are featured in a new documentary from the BBC called "1959: The Year That Changed Jazz", which takes a peek behind the making of 4 seminal albums that were coincidentally all released that same year.
Miles' "Kind of Blue" is the biggest selling jazz album of all-time. Dave Brubeck's "Time Out" played with time signatures and brought 5/4 time not only into jazz but into the white mainstream as the first jazz artist to widely cross over. Ornette Coleman seemed to come out of nowhere with an album arrogantly called "The Shape of Jazz to Come" that admirer Lou Reed says "changed everything".
But, while I love all four of those recordings, it is Mingus' "Mingus Ah Um", and the personality of its creator, that made the strongest impression on me in the documentary.
Not only as a consummate work of creative composition and ensemble performance, but as a fearless cultural and political manifesto from a rousing rebel. Although Columbia would not allow Mingus to include the lyrics to his original song "Fables of Faubus" about the segregationist Arkansas governor Orville Faubus on the album, the mockingly comic song was nonetheless a rallying cry for artists, as Herbie Hancock points out in the film, to tackle head on the political issues of the day.
Jazz was at least 60 years old by the time Charles Mingus composed and recorded this amazing album with its disregard for convention and its synthesis of all the musical idioms and styles that preceded it into its own unique voice.
The voice of course of Charles Mingus, the leading proponent of "play yourself"!