Houston Press: Jazz’s Five Great Protest Songs

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.

Read the full article here

Mingus at the Met: Jazz & Colors

 

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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.

McGill University Webcast

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!

Visit the link to listen!

Mingus in Chris Rock’s “Top Five”

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!

ABOUT
Pulsing with the rhythm of his greatest stand-up, Chris Rock’s TOP FIVE takes things to the next level, reveling in the high and the low, and blending a star-studded comedic romp with an irresistible romance.TOP FIVE digs under the surface of show business, politics, rap, and the exigencies of being black and famous today—holding it all up to the light in the way only Chris Rock can. Mingling echoes of Woody Allen and Dick Gregory with the energy of Kanye West and Jay Z, TOP FIVE is an original and radically new kind of American movie.Written, directed, and starring Chris Rock, TOP FIVE tells the story of New York City comedian-turned-film star Andre Allen, whose unexpected encounter with a journalist (Rosario Dawson) forces him to confront the comedy career—and the past—that he’s left behind. Starring Chris Rock, Rosario Dawson, Gabrielle Union, Cedric The Entertainer, JB Smoove, Tracy Morgan, Kevin Hart, Anders Holm, Jay Pharaoh, Michael Che, Sherri Shepherd, Leslie Jones. The film is produced by Scott Rudin and Eli Bush. The Co-Producers are Shawn “Jay Z” Carter and Kanye West; the Executive Music Producer is Questlove.