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Finalists announced for the First Annual Charles Mingus High School Competition
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New York, NY ­ January 15, 2009 ­ Sue Mingus of Let My Children Hear Music and Justin DiCioccio of The Manhattan School of Music are pleased to announce the finalists in the First Annual Charles Mingus High School Competition.

The finalists (in alphabetical order) are:


Eastman Youth Jazz Orchestra, Rochester NY. Band Director: Howard Potter

Gates Chili High School Jazz Ensemble, Rochester NY. Band Director: Christopher Oldfield

LaGuardia Senior Jazz Band, New York, NY, Band Director:  Kevin Blancq

Lexington High School Jazz Ensemble, Lexington, MA. Band Director, Jeffrey Leonard

Rivers Big Band, The Rivers School, Weston, MA. Band Director: Philippe Crettien


Jazz Ensemble 3, Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts, Hartford, CT. Band Directors: Kris Allen and Jimmy Greene

King Phillip Regional High School Jazz Combo 1, Wrentham, MA. Band Directors: Peter Levesque and Peter Tileson

LaGuardia High School Jazz Quintet, New York, NY. Band Director:  Kevin Blancq

Manasia Improv Ensemble, Manhattan School of Music Precollege, New York, NY. Band Director: Jeremy Manasia

Rivers Select 1 Combo, The Rivers School, Weston, MA. Band Director: Philippe Crettien

The Mingus High School Competition will take place on February 22, 2009, as the final event of the three-day Mingus Summit at Manhattan School of Music in New York City.  All events are free and open to the public. Prizes will be awarded in the following categories: Best Big Band, Best Combo, Outstanding Soloists, Outstanding Big Band Section, and Outstanding Combo Arrangement. We are also pleased to announce the surprise news that two scholarships to Manhattan School of Music will be awarded at the Competition.

Next year’s Competition will be open to high schools nationwide. Details will be announced soon in order to allow plenty of time in the spring and summer for preparation.

Our adjudicators were impressed by the high quality of the submissions and thrilled to hear Mingus music played with such heart and commitment. We are all very excited to see Mingus energy thriving and inspiring these young musicians.

Sue Mingus
Justin DiCioccio

FRIDAY, Feb 20, 2009        7:30pm-9pm        MINGUS SUMMIT
Manhattan School of Music
122nd Street & Broadway, NYC
Greenfield Hall
Keynote Address by conductor Gunther Schuller
Panel Discussion moderated by Schuller with Manhattan School of Music head Justin DiCioccio, altoist and educator Vincent Herring, and trombone virtuoso and educator Conrad Herwig, bassist Boris Kozlov, and Sue Mingus, President of Let My Children Hear Music (The Charles Mingus Institute) and creator of the repertory bands. Free and open to the public.

SATURDAY, Feb 21, 2009    7:30pm-9:30pm     MINGUS SUMMIT
Manhattan School of Music
122nd Street & Broadway, NYC
Borden Auditorium
Performance by Manhattan School of Music Combo, featuring guest soloist and director Steve Slagle from the Mingus Big Band. Free and open to the public.

SUNDAY, Feb 22, 2009     10am-7pm     MINGUS HIGH SCHOOL COMPETITION
Manhattan School of Music
122nd Street & Broadway, NYC
John C Borden Auditorium
Free and open to the public.

Adjudicators for the Competition: Conrad Herwig, Gunther Schuller, Boris Kozlov, Vincent Herring, Justin DiCioccio, and more.

10am-11:30am COMBO COMPETITION ­ 3 bands
11:30am-11:45am SHORT BREAK
11:45am-12:45pm COMBO COMPETITION ­ 2 bands
12:45pm-2pm LUNCH BREAK
2pm-3:30pm BIG BAND COMPETITION ­ 3 bands
3:30pm-3:45pm SHORT BREAK
3:45pm-5pm BIG BAND COMPETITION ­ 2 bands

5pm PERFORMANCE by the Manhattan School of Music Jazz Orchestra, conducted by Justin DiCioccio.

5:30pm PERFORMANCE by Mingus Dynasty featuring Boris Kozlov (playing Charles Mingus’ lionhead bass), Vincent Herring, Conrad Herwig, Donny McCaslin, Justin Faulkner (high school drummer from Girard Academic Music Program in Philadelphia), Alex Sipiagin, Helen Sung, and more.

6pm-7pm AWARDS ceremony and goodbyes.

MONDAY, February 23         SETS AT 7:30 & 9:30         MINGUS DYNASTY
Jazz Standard
116 East 27th btw Park & Lex
New York, NY 212-576-2232
Alto/flute: Vincent Herring, Tenor Saxophone: Seamus Blake, Trumpet: Alex Sipiagin, Trombone: Ku-umba Frank Lacy, Bass: Boris Kozlov, Piano:  David Kikoski, Drums:  Jeff "Tain" Watts.

Sue Mingus
Let My Children Hear Music
484 West 43rd Street, 43-S, New York, NY 10036   
(212) 736-4749   Fax (212) 736-6149

Mingus Moves! To Jazz Standard in October 2008

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Media Contact:  Theresa Mullen, 646.747.7217, tmullen [at]


NEW YORK CITY/AUGUST 28 — Jazz Standard and Sue Mingus announced today a new home for the music of legendary jazz composer/bassist/band leader Charles Mingus. Beginning with a gala week of performances in October, the Mingus organization will begin its long-term residency at Jazz Standard with alternating weekly appearances by Mingus Dynasty, the Mingus Orchestra, and the Mingus Big Band. Monday nights at Jazz Standard, beginning October 6, 2008, will be known as “Mingus Mondays”.

The new extended engagement kicks off October 6-7 with performances by Mingus Dynasty ­ the original Charles Mingus legacy group, formed by Sue Mingus from among his most valuable sidemen shortly after their leader’s death in 1979. Although lineups are still being confirmed at press time, recent editions of Mingus Dynasty have included saxophonists Craig Handy, Seamus Blake, and Jaleel Shaw; trombonists Conrad Herwig and Ku-umba Frank Lacy; and pianists Orrin Evans and David Kikoski, with the redoubtable Boris Kozlov (bass) and Adam Cruz (drums) holding down the rhythm section.

The excitement continues October 8-9 with the Mingus Orchestra. Sue Mingus assembled the Mingus Orchestra in 1999 to focus on Charles Mingus’ compositions, with less emphasis on extended soloing. The Orchestra’s distinctive sound emerges from an expanded repertoire and a diverse instrumentation that may include bassoon, bass clarinet, French horn, and guitar. From October 10-12, the Mingus Big Band will hold forth at Jazz Standard. Writing in The New York Times, Jon Pareles hailed the Big Band for having “revived Charles Mingus’ repertory and the brawling, muscular, hard-swinging, bluesy way he wanted it played.”

"We are delighted and honored to have Jazz Standard chosen by Sue Mingus as the new home for this timeless music,” said Seth Abramson, artistic director for Jazz Standard. “The genius of Charles Mingus’ compositions and arrangements is matched by the talent and enthusiasm of the players in each of these three outstanding bands.”

Charles Mingus: Music Written for Monterey 1965 Not Heard ... Played Live in Its Entirety at UCLA (SSC 3041)
Mingus Big Band: Live in Tokyo at the Blue Note, 2005 (SSC 3042)

Release Date: 9/26/06

For media information contact Brad Riesau at DL Media
ph: 909-744-0704 or email:

Charles Mingus lives! Although the late composer and bassist passed in 1979, as we approach his 85th birthday year, the complex, passionate, and supremely personal compositional work lives on through the frequent performances and recordings of the bands his widow Sue Mingus has assembled - the Mingus Dynasty, the Mingus Big Band, the Mingus Orchestra, and the Epitaph Orchestra - and through upcoming releases of landmark Charles Mingus performances, available for the first time on CD. Two live recordings, Music Written for Monterey, 1965 Not Heard...Played Live in Its Entirety at UCLA and Live in Tokyo at the Blue Note, 2005 will be released simultaneously Sept. 26 on Sue Mingus Music, distributed by Sunnyside.

One documents the jazz giant in 1965; the other documents the big band that bears his name, forty years later. But more than mere historical documents, both provide a rare glimpse into the creative process of the maestro and composer, and the musicians that live and breathe new life into his music today. Music Written for Monterey, 1965 Not Heard...Played Live in Its Entirety at UCLA captures Mingus leading an octet performing at the University of California, Los Angeles. To expand the story of the title: Mingus had triumphantly performed at Monterey Jazz Festival in 1964, and returned the following year with a collection of difficult new material that he intended to debut there. However, Mingus' set was truncated to a half an hour, and most of the set list was scrapped. A week later he premiered and recorded the material at UCLA, which demonstrates in raw, you-are-there detail why Mingus liked to refer to his live shows as workshops, where he could continue to rehearse new material (not written down for the other musicians) until he was satisfied with the spirit and sound. That this "workshop" concert was also recorded opens a window on Mingus' creative process, and the listener is privy to the inner workings of the composer, his outward shouts and reprimands.

It is an unvarnished behind-the-scenes look at the struggle Charles Mingus sometimes faced in his efforts to get his demanding compositions performed. It includes musical confrontations on stage, the difficulties band members experienced with brand new music, his own furies and, ultimately, his refusal to edit out the warts, to tell it like it was. This fearless exposure of the creative process in all its contradictions had led earlier to his concept of the jazz workshops- performances on stage in which the trials and errors of creating music were presented to viewers, unedited. He also understood the fascination with "process" for an intelligent audience. "All these years I've been trying to promote Mingus the composer, and downplaying Charles the larger-than-life character," Sue laughs. "By putting this CD out, here I am playing right into that image of Charles. But what eventually transpires after the musical fist fights, extraordinary solos, hirings and firings and a feast of new composition - is musicians achieving incredible musical heights as they resolve their conflicts in the fire of the music."

Released by Mingus' own label forty years ago, Mingus pressed only 200 copies before he ran out of money, and then the masters were destroyed in 1971 when Capitol cleaned out its vaults. This two-disc CD was re-mastered from the original vinyl. (Sue Mingus and Fred Cohen also issued a limited edition version of the LP in 1984.) In the liner notes to At UCLA Sue writes, "It should be obvious that no established record company at that time ­ or any other ­ would have released a recording with so much dissension and so many irregularities. Mingus opted for the truth of the performance, and we witness not only the flaws and failures but the sheer joy as he shrieks his approval, encourages his drummer, exhorts his trumpet player and jumps from the piano chair to the bass and back in order to conduct his compositions."

Mingus's band included trumpeters Hobart Dotson, Lonnie Hillyer and Jimmy Owens; alto saxophonist Charles McPherson; French horn player Julius Watkins, tuba player Howard Johnson; drummer Dannie Richmond; and Mingus on bass. Tunes included "Meditation on Inner Peace," "Don't Be Afraid, the Clown's Afraid, Too," and "Once Upon a Time There Was a Holding Corporation Called Old America" (a later version was titled "The Shoes of the Fisherman's Wife Are Some Jive-ass Slippers"), and a rare opportunity to hear Mingus perform on otherwise unavailable compositions "They Trespass the Land of the Sacred Sioux," "Don't Let It Happen Here," and "The Arts of Tatum and Freddy Webster," and arrangements of "Muscrat Ramble" and a be-bop medley, "Ode to Bird and Dizzy."

Jon Pareles in the New York Times wrote about the "irrepressible" UCLA concert, and how Mingus, through his workshop format, was "eager to remind his audiences that jazz is simultaneously a body of tradition and an art of the moment." Four decades later, this recording still sounds as modern as the Mingus Big Band Live at Tokyo, which spans generations of Mingus compositions and still manages to combine the unique personalities of the performers and art of the moment with the timelessness of these compositions. Live in Tokyo at the Blue Note, 2005 showcases the exhilarating Mingus Big Band launching into newly arranged compositions from the Mingus songbook at a New Year's Eve concert at the Blue Note. Continuing the Mingus tradition of great difficulty yielding great rewards, the last-minute replacement of new father and bassist Boris Koslov (who was to debut two new arrangements) with Kenny Davis (who had never played with the band, and who stepped in seamlessly), is testament not only to the musicians' talents, but to the strength of the music itself.

The 14-piece big band - comprising trumpeters Eddie Henderson, Jack Walrath and Alex Sipiagin; saxophonists Abraham Burton, Craig Handy, Wayne Escoffery, Seamus Blake, and Ronnie Cuber; trombonists Ku-umba Frank Lacy, Conrad Herwig and Earl McIntyre; pianist Dave Kikoski; bassist Kenny Davis; and drummer Johnathan Blake - buoyantly give new voice to such Mingus classics as "Meditations" and "Ecclusiastics," from the '60s, "Opus 4" and "Free Cell Block 8" from the early '70s, and such early '50s-era tunes as "Celia," "Bird Calls" and "Wham Bam," which opens the CD with characteristic Mingus Big Band explosive energy. When talking about the legacy band's weekly New York club dates, Sue commented that her husband would have "given his eye teeth to compose for musicians of this caliber week after week, though he rarely had the opportunity to work with such a large group."

But through the posthumous Epitaph concerts (in the 80s and coming again in 2007), and through Mingus's enormous compositional legacy, today's musicians have the opportunity to continue his creative process and, through these recordings, listeners have a privileged entry to the dialogue. Mingus may not be shouting from the bandstand or dismissing them for "mental tardiness" but his music continues to inspire musicians to heights of individual artistry through the power and longevity of his compositions and the lively creative conversation evidenced in these two most recent releases.