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2007 News Summary

Mingus Big Band at Chicago Jazz Festival
Wed, Sep. 12 2007
Jazz Icons Mingus 1964 CD now available
Wed, Sep. 12 2007
Pitchfork review of “Mingus at Cornell”
Fri, Aug. 17 2007
“…And that’s a part of what made the sextet so special– it was a band full of distinctive instrumentalists who together made something on the borderline of magic. This set captures them at their finest, still caught in the adventure of learning, but sure enough to make every note count.”
“Some serious music” at Newport festival
Tue, Aug. 14 2007
Review of Mingus Orchestra at Newport: “highlight of Saturday’s festival”
Mon, Aug. 13 2007
Newport Showcases The Many Sides Of Jazz
By CHUCK OBUCHOWSKI “….One of the septet’s most captivating soloists was young tenor saxophonist Wayne Escoffery, a New Haven native and University of Hartford grad. The rising star also contributed significantly to a performance by The Mingus Orchestra, conducted by Gunther Schuller. This unique salute focused on rarely performed Charles Mingus compositions with particularly complex structures. The Schuller’s well-rehearsed 10-member orchestra not only brought these difficult charts to life but did so with such passion and conviction that this hour-long program became a musical highlight of Saturday’s festival.Bassoonist Michael Rabinowitz and hornist John Clark were among the outstanding soloists in the ensemble, and the unique instrumentation of the orchestra – which also included Jack Wilkins on guitar and Douglas Yates on bass clarinet – added to the beauty of these pieces.Included in the orchestra’s set were two pieces written by the bassist/bandleader while he was still a teenager, as well as “Todo Modo,” Mingus’ last extended composition, written in 1976 as a film score……”
NYT: Jazz Listings-Orchestra in Washington Square Park.
Sat, Jul. 28 2007
★ CHARLES MINGUS ORCHESTRA (Tuesday) The must-have jazz release of the summer is “Cornell 1964” (Blue Note), a new recording of a short-lived Charles Mingus sextet that was discovered not long ago by the bassist’s widow, Sue Mingus. This fine repertory orchestra, another byproduct of Ms. Mingus’s vigilant stewardship, will perform at least one song from the recording in this free outdoor concert. At 8 p.m., Washington Square Park, southeast quadrant, Greenwich Village, (212) 252-3621,; free. (Chinen)
Tijuana Moods Reissued
Tue, Jul. 10 2007
SONY’s reissue of Tijuana Moods was reviewed in the July issue of Paste Magazine, page 95.
Cornell & Paris Reviews by Henkin (AAJ)
Tue, Jul. 10 2007
Charles Mingus: Cornell 1964 & In Paris: The Complete America Sessions
by Andrey Henkin
Cornell Review: Blumenfeld (Billboard, Reuters)
Tue, Jul. 3 2007
Larry Blumenfeld’s review of “Charles Mingus Sextet With Eric Dolphy: Cornell 1964” appeared on the Reuters newswire today! CD release date is July 17, 2007.
Jazzcat Blog review of Epitaph
Mon, Jun. 18 2007
UCLA 1965 Up for Best Reissue from JAA
Wed, Jun. 6 2007
Charles Mingus has been nominated as a finalist for a 2007 Jazz Journalists Association Jazz Award in the category of: Jazz Reissue Of The Year, Single CD for “Music Written for Monterey 1965 Not Heard: At UCLA 1965.”This CD was released on SueMingusMusic/Sunnyside Records in September of 2006 and made numerous critics “best of” lists. Members of the JJA are currently voting on these nominees and others in 41 categories celebrating excellence in jazz music, production, presentation and print, broadcast and photographic journalism. For information on previous Jazz Awards, and to view complete list of this years nominees, go to website of the Jazz Journalists Association. The 11th annual JJA Awards winners will be announced the last week of June.
FREE Summer Concerts in NYC
Tue, Jun. 5 2007
All three Mingus ensembles will perform free concerts in New York this summer:Mingus Dynasty
Wednesday, June 27 at Madison Square Park
7:00 p.m.Mingus Orchestra
Tuesday, July 31 at Washington Square Park
8:00 p.m.The Mingus Big Band and Mingus Orchestra conducted by Gunther Schuller
Damrosch Park Bandshell
Lincoln Center Out of Doors
8:00 p.m.See you there!
Sue Mingus @ Brooklyn Public Library Thursday
Tue, Jun. 5 2007
The Brooklyn Public Library’s (BPL) annual Summer Reading Program kicks off on Thursday, June 7 at Central Library with “A Jazzy Summer Reading” featuring readings of autobiographies. Musician and jazz composer Paquito D’Rivera reads from his autobiography, A Sax Life, and Sue Mingus, widow of legendary composer, bassist and bandleader, Charles Mingus, reads from her memoir, Tonight at Noon: A Love Story, which was a New York Times Notable Book and a Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year. Location: Central Library, Grand Army Plaza, Second Floor Meeting Room.
The Times (London) calls the Mingus Big Band “the world’s most on-form jazz big band”
Wed, May. 30 2007
Review of Mingus Big Band at Bath:
“From the first unaccompanied notes of Lauren Sevian’s baritone saxophone it was clear that the Mingus Big Band was in powerful, energetic form, both as the highlight of this year’s Jazz Weekend at the Bath International Music Festival and at the midpoint of their current British tour. Once Sevian’s growling sax established a crisp ostinato, the band roared in behind her, willing the audience to be swept along in the tide of its commitment to Charles Mingus’s music. His composition Moanin’ included an extended solo from Sevian, and also a brilliant trumpet outing for Ryan Kisor, with a repetitive choppy descending phrase that corkscrewed through the valves against the pounding rhythm of the band. …His closing trio piece, Duke Ellington’s Sound of Love, with Kozlov bowing high into the cello register, showed that the band is not all bombast and derring-do, but is also capable of the melancholy reflection that was also an integral part of Mingus’s musical world….Excerpts from [Epitaph], notably Children’s Hour Dream, showing the range of Mingus’s writing, from Stravinsky-like voicings to jagged jazzy chording, were the most powerful pieces by what is currently the world’s most on-form jazz big band. If it is this good in concert, it’ll blow the roof off Ronnie Scott’s club when it winds up there tonight.”
“Charles Mingus’ monumental ‘Epitaph’ gets full treatment” by Howard Reich Chicago Tribune
Thu, May. 24 2007
Though Charles Mingus long has been revered as a fearlessly iconoclastic musician, listeners cannot take his full measure until they’ve heard his “Epitaph.”
….To hear “Epitaph” in its entirety, in a single evening, is to re-evaluate Mingus’ stature as composer and innovator.For though Mingus remains justly admired for tunes such as “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat,” the scale of his ambition and breadth of his achievement in “Epitaph” place him at the pinnacle of American composition. For starters, several movements in “Epitaph” are so daringly conceived and eloquently articulated that they stand on their own as brilliantly realized works.
Epitaph review in Chicago Sun-Times by John Litweiler
Thu, May. 24 2007
The highlight of this Symphony Center jazz season occurred Friday evening: Charles Mingus’ “Epitaph,” played by a 31-piece band conducted by Gunther Schuller. Mingus intended this 2½-hour composition to be monumental, and it surely was. Its many contrary, simultaneous events approached Charles Ives’ wildest creations, while its harmonic richness and variety of sonic effects approached Duke Ellington, and it included enough melodies to stuff several Mahler symphonies.
Epitaph review in Variety By RICHARD S. GINELL
Thu, May. 24 2007
Yet “Epitaph” turns out to be a perfect title since it defines Mingus as an original synthesis of the past, present and future of music — reaching out to the radical avant-garde with wandering dissonances worthy of Charles Ives; looking back to gospel, Jelly Roll Morton, Vernon Duke, bebop, Mingus’s own greatest hits (“Better Get It In Your Soul”), and above all, Ellington. The screaming sonorities in the brass recall Stan Kenton and hardly anyone else in jazz, and Mingus took Ellington’s use of plunger-mutes to new vistas of wild expression. There are solo opportunities for strangers to jazz like the oboe and bassoon (the latter wielded brilliantly by Michael Rabinowitz in “Wolverine Blues”).
Self-Portrait in Three Colors interpreted by Boris Kozlov
Thu, May. 10 2007
Self Portrait in Three Colors
by Charles MingusArranged by Mingus Big Band bassist Boris Kozlov, who played all parts on Mingus’s bass.
“Charles Mingus’ famous last work: His ambitious ‘Epitaph’ will come to life at Disney Hall” by By Don Heckman, LA Times
Thu, May. 10 2007
…”To me, regardless of what instrument he played, Mingus was one of the great jazz artists,” McBride says. “And I’m going to have his music featured as long as I’m around to do anything about it.” For Schuller and Sue Mingus, the performances are a culmination of years of work and dedication. “There’s no telling how Charles would have done this, if he were here,” says Mingus. “It would have been different, I’m sure. Probably different every night. He never looked back.” And that capacity for constant change and variation, believes Schuller, is part of the great, unpredictable beauty of “Epitaph” in performance. “This work covers every possible kind of mood and character and expression that one can have in music,” says Schuller. “It’s a summary kind of work. And it reflects exactly the complexity of Mingus as a person. He was as gentle as a baby at times. At the other end of the spectrum, he could be as violent as a volcano. And it’s all in ‘Epitaph.’ “A composition that, as it turns out, might more accurately be titled “Legacy.”
Mingus marathon a moving ‘Epitaph’ John Soeder in Plain Dealer
Thu, May. 3 2007
“Too bad Mingus wasn’t around to bask in the hard-earned standing ovation for “Epitaph,” a monumental achievement unparalleled in the annals of jazz.”
Nate Guidry reviews Epitaph in Post-Gazette
Thu, May. 3 2007
Leonard Lopate Show: Christian McBride celebrates Mingus
Mon, Apr. 23 2007
‘Epitaph’ of epic proportion by John Soeder-Plain Dealer
Sun, Apr. 22 2007
“This is one of the great pieces in the history of jazz,” Schuller says. “Nobody else wrote a 19-movement piece lasting 2½ hours and ranging from simple blues to the most extravagantly complex Ivesian or Stravinksian kind of music. Not even Ellington did anything this ambitious.”
A Mingus Birthday Present by Will Friedwald
Thu, Apr. 19 2007
The New York Sun
Time Out New York-Top live show: Charles Mingus’s Epitaph conducted by Gunther Schuller
Thu, Apr. 19 2007
Top live show
Charles Mingus’s Epitaph conducted by Gunther Schuller
Rose Theater; Wed 25
It seems bizarre to think of Charles Mingus as an unsung composer, but that’s precisely what he was in his lifetime. The bassist’s outsize ambitions were evident as early as the ’50s—see the extended work “Pithecanthropus Erectus”—but several of his more public career pitfalls are proof that imagining expansive music is one thing, getting it properly written down and performed is something else entirely. Epitaph, an epic score that didn’t premiere until a full decade after Mingus’s death in 1979, is a prime example: He’d shelved it after performing sections at the infamously messy (and recorded) Town Hall concert in 1962, but when Mingus’s widow, Sue, discovered the manuscript in the ’80s, she was astonished to find upwards of 500 pages.Famed music scholar Gunther Schuller was given the task of streamlining Epitaph for consumption in 1989; he’s on hand again for the flagship concert in this week’s celebration of the 85th anniversary of Mingus’s birth. It’ll be interesting to compare sections with music performed by any one of the Mingus repertory groups at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola this week. The Mingus Dynasty (Sun 22), a septet, is closest to the classic bands that the bassist led in his lifetime, while the Mingus Orchestra (Thu 19) adds muted symphonic colors to the mix. The beefy, popular Mingus Big Band (Fri 20, Sat 21) has long been a nightlife institution. Schuller’s 30-piece ensemble will try to bring it all together. — K. Leander Williams
Tri-C Jazzfest to salute a legend, or two, or three: Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus among planned musical tributes
Wed, Apr. 18 2007
On April 27, composer/arranger/conductor Gunther Schuller will lead the New York-based Epitaph Orchestra through Mingus’ most ambitious work, the 130-minute Epitaph. Assembled from notes and scores found after the composer’s death in 1979, the piece, written for a 30-piece group, incorporates the many sides of Mingus, mixing sections of through-composed music with plenty of space for improvisation as well as familiar tunes, including Better Git It In Your Soul and Peggy’s Blue Skylight. Any concertgoers expecting two hours of stuffed-shirt, “serious music” will be disappointed, because the 18-part suite is filled with the boisterous, lively spirit and sense of freedom that imbued all of Mingus’ music. The concert is also special because it is one of only four the Mingus Epitaph Orchestra is scheduled to perform this year.
Bill Cosby To Host Epitaph
Tue, Apr. 10 2007
Bill Cosby will host the New York premiere of Epitaph at Lincoln Center on April 25th. Cosby originally hosted Mingus’s “comeback concert” at Carnegie Hall in 1972. (A recording, Charles Mingus & Friends in Concert, was made of the concert for 22 musicians). A life-long jazz fan and supporter, Cosby featured Mingus music in his series, “The Cosby Mysteries.”
Review of Music Review: Charles Mingus – Music Written for Monterey 1965, Not Heard… Played in its Entirety At UCLA
Tue, Apr. 10 2007
Written by Bob MacKenzie
Charles Mingus Birthday Broadcasts April 22nd
Mon, Apr. 9 2007
Mingus Birthday Broadcasts
Sunday, Apr. 22 2007
In honor of Charles Mingus’s birthday – April 22 – jazz radio stations throughout the country are playing Mingus music. Check your local listings! Highlights include: – WKCR (88.9FM) in New York: 24 hours of Mingus music, part of the station’s Birthday Broadcast tradition. 12AM through 12PM. Primarily hosted by Phil Schaap.
– Sirius Satellite Radio: Pure Jazz (Channel 72)celebrates the birth of Mingus with a day of music curated by Sue Mingus. Every hour Sirius will play a Mingus tune chosen by Sue, who will discuss each one. Starting at 10AM EST. – XM Satellite Radio: Real Jazz (Channel XM 70) plays Mingus music every other hour from 8AM to 8PM EST
“Charles Mingus: Epitaph’s Return” Cover story in All About Jazz
Tue, Apr. 3 2007
The cover story of the April issue of All About Jazz is “Charles Mingus-Epitaph’s Return” by George Kanzler.
Mingus Dynasty tonight-March 22nd-at Cutting Room NYC.
Wed, Mar. 21 2007
Mingus Dynasty Tonight-March 22-at the Cutting Room NYC. $15
The Cutting Room 19 West 24th Street between Broadway and 6th Avenue on the north side of the street.Two sets 9 & 11.
Orrin Evans, Alex Sipiagin, Wayne Escoffrey, Andy Hunter, Boris Kozlov, Johnathan Blake, Craig Handy
Mingus Music To Cook By
Sat, Mar. 3 2007
In the March issue of Bon Appetit columnist Eric Steinman includes Mingus’s Atlantic box set, Passions of a Man in his playlist of “music to cook by.” The box set, which runs a total of five hours, 27 minutes, is best, writes Steinman, for braising meat. “Braising meat is all about the subtle manipulation of heat and time. This boxed set is a library of captivating jazz masterpieces to play throughout the day.”The list, which also includes Bob Dylan, Kronos Quartet and Missy Elliot, can be viewed at
Charles Mingus ranks in Time Out NY feature: “the 50 greatest New York musicians of all time”
Fri, Mar. 2 2007
“Charles Mingus’s legacy is in fantastic shape thanks to the Mingus Big Band, a ghost orchestra that continues to remind audiences how much his robust music picked up speed when he arrived from the West Coast in the mid-’50s.”
Mingus Big Band article in Gary Post-Tribune
Thu, Feb. 15 2007
Mingus music opens VU fest February 14, 2007
By DIANE KRIEGER SPIVAK Post-Tribune Known to many as the best jazz orchestra in the world, the Mingus Big Band will headline the 22nd annual Valparaiso University Jazz Fest this spring. The band, which highlights the work of musician and composer Charles Mingus, will culminate the week-long festival with performances at 7 and 9:30 p.m. April 14.
Music Written For Monterey 1965 Not Heard…
Wed, Jan. 10 2007
Music Written For Monterey 1965 Not Heard…Played In Its Entirety At UCLA
2 CD Set / SSC3041Released 40 years ago but unavailable on CD until
today, the title immediately announces the trials and tribulations that
led to this extraordinary concert, summing up its original intent “music
written for Monterey”), the failure of that event (“not played’) and the
triumphant closing chapter (“performed at UCLA’) which premiered a
large body of compositions Mingus had been working on all year for the
Monterey Jazz Festival, that found its true audience at a college concert
the following week.
Live In Tokyo At The Blue Note
Wed, Jan. 10 2007
Live In Tokyo At The Blue Note
SSC 3042 Thirty years ago, in late December, 1976, Charles
Mingus performed a series of concerts in Tokyo with his quintet. In 2005,
also in December, another Mingus band rounded out a week at Tokyo’s
famous Blue Note Club with a live recording on New Year’s Eve. Trumpet
player Jack Walrath was on hand for borth events, linking past and
present. The current 14-piece ensemble, the Mingus Big Band, is the legacy group that carries Mingus’s
voice into the future.
At UCLA 1965 voted Best Reissue of 2006 by critics at Village Voice
Fri, Jan. 5 2007
“Rewarding genuine rarity over lavish repackaging, the Circle voted Charles Mingus’s unruly but worth-it Live at UCLA (CME/Sunnyside) the year’s best reissue.”
At UCLA 1965 voted Best Reissue of 2006 by reviewers at Jazz Times
Fri, Jan. 5 2007
Anniversary of Mingus’s death: January 5th, 1979
Fri, Jan. 5 2007
27 years ago today, at the age of 56, Charles Mingus passed away in Cuernevaca, Mexico. Not far away, “fifty-six sperm whales swam through the shallow coastal water of Baja in northwest Mexico, landed like a monstrous tidal wave, and perished on the beach….The following day, Mingus and the whales were consumed by fire: Mingus inside a crematorium on the outskirts of Mexico City and the whales in funeral pyres along the coast.” (from Tonight at Noon by Sue Mingus)