One of the great jazz traditions in New York is the Monday-night performances by the Mingus Big Band at the Jazz Standard. When I heard them there on Jan. 12, the top soloists were saxophonist Wayne Escoffery, trombonist Frank Lacy, and trumpeter Alex Norris. Norris, of course, grew up in Howard County and teaches jazz part time at the Peabody Institute. And at the Jazz Standard’s bar, he told me he’d be holding the special “pre-release” show for his new album, “Extension Deadline,” at Peabody on Jan. 27.
Yesterday the Mingus Underground Octet closed the South Coast Jazz Festival in the U.K. Notes from the review:
“The Mingus Underground Octet mined the labyrinthine oeuvre of a truculent talent…
Highlights on the night were Fables Of Faubus, a caustic blast at the endemic racism of the United States, and Better Git It In Your Soul which featured a howling solo from tenor saxophonist Terry Pack.”
Excerpt from The Houston Press:
Charles Mingus, “Original Fables of Faubus”
In 1957, then-Gov. Orval Faubus ignored a unanimous decision by the U.S. Supreme Court by ordering the Arkansas National Guard to prevent the Little Rock Nine from legally entering a newly desegregated school. The absurdity of the event, placing military guards armed to the teeth in order to keep unarmed teenagers from lawfully entering school, drew the ire from many public officials, but the most razing attack came from one of jazz’s most innovative bassists, Charles Mingus.
Featured on Candid Records, the “Original Fables of Faubus” remains one of jazz’s most sardonically crafted songs today. It cheekily pokes fun at Faubus’ finer fascist features with a call-and-response approach: “Name me someone ridiculous, Dannie?/ Governor Faubus!/ Why’s he so sick and ridiculous?/ Because he won’t permit integrated schools!/ Well, he’s a fool!”
As Mingus howls his last response without mincing his words, he reminds us that Faubus wasn’t the only public official responsible. Eisenhower and Rockefeller shared the maligned governor’s shame by turning a blind eye to the events, attempting to minimize the stakes on a national scope. Echoes of “Boo! Ku Klux Klan (with your Jim Crow plan)” resonate today given the current state of racial politics. From a historical point of view, it wasn’t that long ago; moreover, it also reminds us that there is still much to be discussed.
Jazz & Colors Festival at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Setting Jazz Masterworks Among the Met’s Dazzling Collection on Friday, January 30, 2015
(New York, January 22, 2015)—Following its critically acclaimed second edition in Central Park last fall, Jazz & Colors is back with “The Masterworks Edition,” to be performed at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on Friday, January 30, 2015, featuring two sets of music at 6:00 and 7:30 p.m. Jazz performances by fifteen ensembles will take place simultaneously in galleries located around the world-renowned Museum. Visitors will be invited to sample the sounds and styles of an eclectic range of groups—from small combos to larger ensembles—as they play the same program of jazz masterworks throughout the Met as follows:
SET ONE: Edgar Sampson Stompin’ at the Savoy | Cole Porter Night & Day | Duke Ellington Take the A Train | Johnny Green Body & Soul | Thelonious Monk Straight, No Chaser | Charles Mingus Goodbye Porkpie Hat
SET TWO: Sonny Rollins St. Thomas | Miles Davis All Blues | Lee Morgan The Sidewinder | Ornette Coleman Lonely Woman | Alice Coltrane Blue Nile | Max Roach Freedom Day
This one-of-a-kind event is free with Museum admission and offers an opportunity to explore the Met’s most beloved galleries—from The American Wing to the European Sculpture and Decorative Arts galleries—accompanied by a self-guided musical score. Jazz & Colors is a co-production of the independent music and film entrepreneur Peter Shapiro and Met Museum Presents.
For updates and more information, visit www.jazzandcolors.com or www.metmuseum.org/tickets, follow us on Twitter @JazzandColors, @metmuseum and like us on Facebook at Facebook.com/JazzandColors and Facebook.com/metmuseum.
On January 21st, 2015 — the Jazz Orchestra 1, from the department of the Schulich School of Music at McGill University will be performing Charles Mingus – Better Get Hit In Your Soul – arranged by Sy Johnson. In collaboration with students and teachers from the McGill Graduate Program in Sound Recording, they will live stream this performance!