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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

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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.

Gunther Schuller discusses “Epitaph” on January 15

Make Music New York inaugurates a new series called Make Music Monthly, featuring conversations with musical luminaries recorded live at the Cornelia Street Cafe in Greenwich Village. This series is co-presented with the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music.

On January 15, 2014, jazz historian and composer Gunther Schuller speaks about Charles Mingus’s monumental “Epitaph,” 25 years after he conducted the work’s world premiere.

Hosted by Make Music New York founder Aaron Friedman, the discussion will be recorded and published as a podcast available on the Make Music New York and New School websites.