The nimble and expert 7-piece Mingus Dynasty
was the first band Sue Mingus organized after Charles Mingus's
death in 1979. Although big bands like the Glenn Miller and
Tommy Dorsey bands had continued to perform after their leader
passed on, a similar legacy never existed for smaller ensembles.
Because Mingus always said he was first and foremost a composer,
and because he left behind over 300 compositions that deserved
to be played, a band carrying on his music became a natural,
if unanticipated, mission. For the sake of authenticity, the
first Dynasty bands were expected to include only musicians
who had actually performed with Mingus-except for the bass
player of course. Today, thirty years later, the rich legacy
of Mingus music ignites the bandstand while new generations
of musicians-many of them not even alive during the composer's
lifetime-add their individual voices and continue to interpret
and build on his compositions.
“Listening to a brilliant septet, one was
struck by how well Mingus's ensemble arrangements are now
played, far more precisely than when he was alive. His original
soloists were superb but it has taken 50 loving years for
section players to reel off his complex orchestral visions.
And how proud Charles would have been to find two Russians
- bassist Boris Kozlov and trumpeter Alexander Sipiagian -among
them, a living embodiment of his multi-racial dream.”
--Jack Massarik Evening Standard (London)
Recent Mingus Dynasty members have included: Craig Handy,
Wayne Escoffery, Seamus Blake, Vincent Herring, Jaleel Shaw,
Alex Foster, Ku-umba Frank Lacy, Andy Hunter, Conrad Herwig,
Luis Bonilla, Alex Sipiagin, Ryan Kisor, Kenny Rampton, Sean
Jones, Tatum Greenblatt, Boris Kozlov, Hans Glawischnig, Kenny
Drew Jr., David Kikoski, Orrin Evans, George Colligan, Donald
Edwards, Jeff "Tain" Watts, Adam Cruz, and many others from
the Mingus repertory bands.