Mingus Big Band Review: The London Times

Mingus Big Band at Ronnie Scott’s, W1

Clive Davis
January 27, 2016

The forecasters may not have spotted it, but a hurricane is blowing through central London this week. Yes, the Mingus Big Band is back in residency at what the double bass player Boris Kozlov calls its “second home”.
It’s always possible, I suppose, that one or two expense-account punters venturing out to hear the orchestra for the first time may be under the impression that Charles Mingus himself will be on the bandstand, shouting out instructions in that inimitable voice of his. The scarcely believable truth is that he has been dead for nearly 40 years. But thanks to his widow, Sue, who has supervised his legacy with a shrewd eye, his work has reached an entirely new audience. This ghost band kicks and capers and gives Old Father Time a cheerful v-sign.

The opening set at Ronnie Scott’s struck a perfect balance between exuberance and introversion, the programme veering from the raucous E’s Flat, Ah’s Flat Too to the recently discovered Noonlight, a shimmering theme vaguely reminiscent of Duke Ellington’s The Single Petal of a Rose.

Above all, the musicians, who play a weekly date at the Jazz Standard club in Manhattan, have managed to preserve the aura of workshop spontaneity. Drawing so heavily on blues and gospel, Mingus’s music needs to keep its raw edges. So it didn’t even matter if there were occasional mix-ups over cues or two soloists getting to their feet at the same time.

The alto player Brandon Wright added flute to the sinuous Meditation on a Pair of Wire Cutters after Kozlov had played a bowed bass introduction. The tenorist Wayne Escoffery fired off one ferocious solo after another. There was a British presence too, in the trombonist Paul Taylor, leader of the quirky and tuneful Blowpipes trio, sitting in for a member of the band who had been snowed in on the east coast of America. Soho’s storm will be raging until Saturday.

Read the original article here

Mingus Big Band in the NY Times

NY Times: What to Do on New Year’s Eve in New York

“Since the early 1990s, with changing personnel, this band has played the music of Charles Mingus in regular residencies at New York clubs, making the essence of the bassist’s work rise up on a regular basis. Under the artistic direction of Mingus’s widow, Sue Mingus, the band delivers the technical and emotional curves of the music with authority…”



Mingus Music in Upcoming Jazz Documentary

The Mingus Composition “Jelly Roll” will be featured in the upcoming documentary “Jazz Nights: A Confidential Journey”! 

JAZZ NIGHTS: A CONFIDENTIAL JOURNEY is a documentary that chronicles a fleeting and almost completely unknown moment in time involving a group of L.A.’s top jazz musicians who congregated in alternating configurations every Sunday night  for two years to explore not only jazz music, but friendship, community, and creative risk-taking. Once a week, these expert musicians formed a circle, a coterie of non-verbal, intuitive communication. There were no pre-determined set lists, no rehearsals. Attendance was through word-of-mouth only. No advertising. In many ways, these musical nights poignantly echoed the Prohibition Era speakeasies of the 1920s as well as the ’50s underground jazz clubs of Harlem and Greenwich Village in both mood and in the incredible exploratory and clandestine nature of the whole experience.  In addition to the music and setting, these cutting-edge musicians explore, via in-depth interviews, their lives, influences, backstories, upbringings, inspirations, and cultural affiliations. The result is an evocative tapestry of live music, thoughts and memories, and a snapshot of a moment in time amidst an ever-evolving American landscape.