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Rutgers University Program Celebrates Charles Mingus

Program celebrates jazz legend Charles Mingus, connects students with master musicians

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)

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE

The College of New Jersey Presents Selections from Epitaph

The College of New Jersey

presents

Selections from Epitaph
Friday, April 4th, 2014

 

mingus - tiger

11:30am-12:30pm – Brown Bag Lecture with Gene Santoro (author of “Myself When I Am Real: The Life and Music of Charles Mingus”)

5:30-7:00pm – Pre-concert panel discussion with Gene Santoro, Dr. Lewis Porter and Michael Conklin

8:00pm – TCNJ Jazz Ensemble

2000 Pennington Road
Ewing, NJ 08628

Mingus Poster_Color

Click here for more information about the event.
This event is free & open to the public

2014 6th Annual Mingus Festival & Competition in NYTimes

http://charlesmingus.org

This year’s 6th Annual Mingus Festival & Competition got a mention in the New York Times!

All events are open to the public!  The full schedule can be found here.

Teaching Mingus: November 11 & 12, 2013, NYC with Ken Pullig

Professor Ken Pullig, retired chair of Jazz Composition at Berklee College of Music, will visit the Greater New York City area to lecture on Charles Mingus at three local institutions:

 

Monday, November 11, 2013:  12:30-2:00pm
Rutgers University, Mason Gross School of the Arts
Rehearsal Hall in Nicholas Music Center, 85 George Street
New Brunswick, NJ

Monday, November 11, 2013:  5:00-6:15pm
City College of New York
Concert Hall in Shepard Hall
New York, NY

November 12, 2013:  3:00-4:30pm — OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!
Manhattan School of Music
Studio 610
New York, NY

 

Professor Ken Pullig taught Mingus for over a decade and brings great insight to Mingus’s music and compositional technique.  These lectures are not to be missed!