We are pleased to announce that Mingus’s composition “Haitian Fight Song” is in the new film Top Five! Starring, written & directed by comedian Chris Rock, the film opened this week to rave reviews!
The jazz musician Charles Mingus was a celebrated band leader and one of the most important composers of his generation. But at the same time he was recording The Greatest Jazz Concert Ever with Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker, he was working on another masterpiece of sorts. He figured out how to get his cat, Nightlife, to poop in a toilet — and he decided he’d share his method with the world. …
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(Bonus: follow the link to hear the CAT-alog read by actor Reg E. Cathey)
Time may pass smoothly but that’s not the case for history. It jolts along in lurches and pauses, summoned and stalled by the forces surrounding it.
Art forms are the same way in development. Centuries might pass with little change before a revolution like the Renaissance shakes up the previous order and gives all a different lens through which to view our reality.
The Mystic Order of the Jazz Obsessed (MOJO) nods in appreciation to one of those lenses Nov. 24 at 6:30 p.m., when they look back to the year 1959 and its watershed releases. It’s the latest in MOJO’s acclaimed monthly Jazz Jambalaya series.
The five albums in focus – from Charles Mingus, Ornette Coleman, Dave Brubeck, Miles Davis and John Coltrane – run a wide gamut and represent a high water mark in terms of commercial appeal, artistic influence and cultural impact. …
The Santa Cruz Advocates for the Arts will hold its 2014 Mingus Fall Clinic and Concert on Wednesday, Nov. 19 at Nogales High School.
Jazz band students from Nogales, Patagonia and Rio Rico high schools, along with student musicians from Calabasas and Coatimundi middle schools, have been selected by their jazz band directors to participate in the clinics and performances.…
Jazz legend Charles Mingus died of complications from ALS in 1979, at age 56.
But thanks to the tenacity of his widow, Sue Mingus, it seems as if the endlessly innovative bassist, composer, band leader, and political activist never left the stage.
Sue Mingus is determined to share her late husband’s music with young people. She closely curates his social-media presence, oversees a Mingus high school festival and competition, and finances The Mingus Project, a program in which musicians and scholars conduct intensive master classes with Mason Gross School jazz students. Rutgers launched the program in 2013 and recently formed the Rutgers University Mingus Ensemble.
“Mingus left so much music,” Sue Mingus says. “It’s so varied and rich; it covers the waterfront. Kids seem to really enjoy playing it.
“There was a perception that his music was very difficult and for the chosen few. It shows you how [much] things change with time,” she adds. “We have these youngsters just playing the life out of it.”
Mason Gross jazz students say The Mingus Project grants them access to “the real world.”
“Before there were institutions for [learning] jazz, this is how you learned,” says Dan Giannone, a drummer who has participated in numerous classes with musicians from the Grammy-winning Mingus Big Band, the Mingus Orchestra, and the Mingus Dynasty. All three tribute bands, which Mingus began to assemble right after her husband’s death, have included Mason Gross alumni and faculty members, such as jazz studies chair and trombonist Conrad Herwig, bassist Kenny Davis, pianist Orrin Evans, and trombonist “Ku-umba” Frank Lacy.
The bottom line, Giannone says: “Playing with people greater than you makes you better yourself.” The Mingus Project allows him to do just that, on a regular basis. … ….(CONTINUED)