On June 27th, the Mingus Dynasty performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (click for link) for the screening of Manny Kirchheimer’s 1981 film “Stations of the Elevated”.
The film hasn’t been seen much since, except by generations of graffiti fans and writers who watched it on VHS tapes. Now it’s being re-released on the big screen, with a showing Friday at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. It will hit screens around the country this fall.
Stations of the Elevated is not a documentary in the usual sense. It’s only 45 minutes long; there’s no narrative and hardly any dialogue. The camera follows subway cars painted from top to bottom with vibrant graffiti compositions over a soundtrack of jazz by Charles Mingus.
Stations of the Elevated on NPR’s All Things Considered (click for link)
In an episode airing Wednesday, January 15th, 2014, Mingus’s composition Love Chant will be featured in an episode of Dick Wolf’s Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, starring Mariska Hargitay as Detective Olivia Benson.
“Tuesday, November 22nd, 1966, jazz musician Charlie Mingus waited with his five-year-old daughter Carolyn, to be evicted from his studio at 22 Great Jones Street, New York. Mingus had planned to open a music school and jazz workshop at this Lower East Side loft, but he had been frustrated in his intentions and had fallen behind in the rent.
As he waited for the NYPD and the Sanitation Department to arrive and remove his belongings, filmmaker Thomas Reichman recorded an intimate portrait of one of the jazz music’s greatest composers and performers. In the film, Mingus is seen moving distractedly amongst his boxed possessions, showing great affection for his daughter, recalling happier times living on Fifth Avenue, and acknowledging the inherent racism in America by offering his own Pledge of Allegiance….”
Hear Mingus’s composition “Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting” in Martin Scorsese’s latest film “The Wolf of Wall Street” starring Leonardo DiCaprio. This movie follows the true story of Jordan Belfort from his rise to a wealthy stockbroker living the high life to his fall involving crime, corruption and the federal government.
Other recent placement of Mingus’s music include:
- AD: Nate Berkus for Target — Better Git Hit In Your Soul
- FILM: People Like Us (Dreamworks) — Boogie Stop Shuffle
- FILM: Regeneration (Green Light) — Haitian Fight Song
- TV: Cold Case (Warner Brothers) — Haitian Fight Song
- TV: The Good Wife (ABC) — Hora Decubitus sample
Announcing the Charles Mingus Mosaic Collection:
The Jazz Workshop Concerts– 1964-65, Limited Edition 7-Disc Set
Said Mingus himself: “On stage, I could feel the presence of my musicians like they were touching me…. I just wish I could give you that picture, that moment at Monterrey along with the music.”
Patrick Jarenwattananon of NPR says “It’s a monumental example of how a jazz great dedicated his life to his art… We hear humor… We hear protest… A lot happened in and around Charles Mingus’ career around 1964-65… it’s no stretch to say you can hear it all in the music he made then.”
This collection can be found on the Mosaic website.