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2006 MINGUS News Summer/Fall

All about … More Mingus Music!


==New CDs==
Two live recordings, Charles Mingus’s Music Written for Monterey, 1965 Not Heard…Played Live in Its Entirety at UCLA and the Mingus Big Band Live in Tokyo at the Blue Note, 2005 will be released simultaneously on September 26. Both CDs appear on the Sue Mingus Music/Sunnyside label, distributed through Ryko in the U.S. and Universal Music worldwide. Not Heard, never before released on CD, presents the composer-bassist on the bandstand leading his musicians through a highly-charged performance. The original liner notes are included, and the CD features a new essay about the historic recording, written by Sue Mingus. Live in Tokyo takes us to the Blue Note, where the band held a weeklong engagement at the end of December, culminating in this live New Year’s Eve concert. We have posted thefull press release for the new CDs on in the news pages of the website, and check the band pages of the website soon to hear a sample!

==Upcoming Shows==
Mingus Dynasty Red Sea/Europe Tour: August 26 – September 4: The Dynasty will perform six concerts in three countries, including Israel, to wrap up the summer festival season. On Aug. 26, the group performs at the Cluny Jazz Festival, in the Burgundy-Dijion region of France. Then they travel to Eliat, Israel, for two performances on August 29 & 30 at the Red Sea Jazz Festival. The next night, August 31, they share a bill with Ornette Coleman and Abbey Lincoln, among other jazz luminaries, at the La Villette Jazz Festival in Paris. On September 1, they perform at the Willisau Festival outside of Zurich, Switzerland. The band concludes the tour back in France with a performance on September 3, at the Sully Music Festival, in the Loire Valley.

At the Club: The Charles Mingus legacy bands whose explosive energy find an outlet Tuesday nights at the Iridium jazz club in Times Square, now include the legendary l4-piece Mingus Big Band, the more exotic Mingus Orchestra whose unique instrumentation includes a bassoon, French horn and bass clarinet; and the fiery 7-piece Mingus Dynasty that started it all, back in l979. The three bands continue their interpretations of one of the most vast, varied and personal bodies of composition in 20th century American music. In the spirit of last year’s Grammy-nominated CD, I Am Three, which was the first of the band’s recordings to showcase all three ensembles, the appearance of the Orchestra and the Dynasty in the rotation gives listeners a chance to hear a wide range of compositions, featuring both classic and new arrangements, performed by the finest musicians who have learned this music over the years and have voices and personalities of their own to bring to the Mingus legacy. Set times are 8:30 and 10:30 for the remainder of the summer. Iridium is located at 51st & Broadway. Call 212-582-2121 for reservations.

Happy Birthday, Sunnyside & Schuller! As part of a celebration of Sunnyside Records’ 25th anniversary, label head Francois Zalacain is throwing a series of concerts at Merkin Hall. The series kicks off on Thursday, Nov. 30 with the Mingus Orchestra, conducted by composer, musician, and scholar Gunther Schuller. Schuller, who celebrates his 81st birthday, will take the 10-piece Orchestra through his arrangements of “Noon Night” and “Half-Mast Inhibition,” as well as other material in the Orchestra’s ever-expanding repertoire of Mingus composition, including a new arrangement of “All the Things You Could Be By Now If Sigmund Freud’s Wife Was Your Mother, by bassist Boris Kozlov.” Tickets are $35 in advance, $40 day of show. Showtime is 8:00 p.m.

Epitaph! Dates continue to be added to the 2007 Epitaph Orchestra tour, which kicks off at Lincoln Center on April 25, three days after Mingus’s 85th birthday year. The Jazz Workshop is hard at work correcting, editing and preparing the 500-page score for Mingus’s masterwork for the new series of performances and for publication. The 31-piece band will tour for the first time in 15 years, with new material that was not included when Epitaph premiered. Dates are confirmed at the Tri-C Jazz Festival in Cleveland on April 27; the Walt Disney Center in Los Angeles on May 16, and at Symphony Center in Chicago on May 18, with additional bookings in the works. Epitaph was first performed at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center in 1989 – the New York Times called it the “jazz event of the decade.” Epitaph is the longest and most richly colored of jazz compositions. It lasts just over two hours, and includes a suite of 19 sections, and will be conducted by Gunther Schuller. To learn more about Epitaph, and watch footage from the 1989 Lincoln Center concert, visit the Epitaph section of the Mingus website.

It Was a Very Fine June …

==New Charts==
Hal Leonard published two new Mingus Big Band arrangements. “Song With Orange,” arranged by the late John Stubblefield, and “Opus Four,” arranged by Boris Kozlov, are available for sale through the Hal Leonard website for $60.00 each. “Song with Orange” appears on I Am Three, and a version of “Opus Four” can be heard on the band’s upcoming live CD, Live in Tokyo at the Blue Note.

As part of the JVC Jazz Festival’s “Jazz on Film” series, Makor screened new prints of Tom Reichman’s 1968 film “Mingus” and “Other Voices – The Meditations of Charles Mingus,” a 1964 performance first filmed for the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC). Many people have never seen the 29 minute film, which alternates between a large orchestra performance of “Meditations” and interviews with Mingus. A post-screening discussion followed with Andrew Homzy, professor of Jazz Studies at Concordia University, and author of More Than A Fake Book: The Music of Charles Mingus.

==New Book and legacy CD reissue==
Two books came out, one devoted to profiling all of Mingus’s major recordings, and another, about the history of the Impulse! jazz label, where Mingus recorded several of his most compelling material, includingBlack Saint and Sinner Lady. I Know What I Know: The Music of Charles Mingus by Todd S. Jenkins was published in June by Praeger in hardback ($49.95). The book includes a forward by long-time Mingus arranger Sy Johnson, and a note about some of the bootleg and pirate recordings that are part of the discography, by Sue Mingus. It’s a chronologically arranged study designed, according to the author, to serve as a guide and helpful overview of Mingus’s complete body of material, fully devoted to the music, from the 78s he recorded in Los Angeles and San Francisco in the mid-1940s, through the legendary albums he made for Columbia, Candid, Atlantic, and his own labels.

Also released in June, The House That Trane Built (Norton) is a history of the innovative jazz label that was active from the mid-50s to the late 70s. Mingus of course recorded several important records for Impulse!: In addition to Black Saint, Mingus Plays Piano, and Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus were recorded between 1963 and 1964 at the label, under the auspices of engineer Bob Thiele. The book presents select anecdotes and quotes by and about Mingus during his brief tenure at the label, and a special article devoted to Black Saint by author Ashley Kahn. In conjunction with the book, Universal/Verve (which now runs the Impulse! label) has released a companion box set and is also issuing 12 new compilations devoted to the major Impulse! artists. There is a brand-new Charles Mingus compilation, which includes selections from the three albums mentioned above, and “Theme For Lester Young” appears on the box set.

== Reviews & Notices==
Philadelphia & Toronto Love the Big Band! On July 28, the Big Band performed at the Philadelphia Museum of Art “Arts After 5″ series in a unique setting. Musicians were staged at the base of the main staircase of the museum, with the statue of Diana (formerly on the roof of the old Madison Square Garden) balanced over the proceedings and grand tapestries from the museum’s collection hanging from the walls, which helped absorb the sound. For those who couldn’t get away to a European jazz festival this summer, the Philadelphia concert offered an alternative. In the top floor galleries – where the music is clearly heard – the museum installed in the space a 12th century Spanish church-square, complete with a fountain from an Abbey called St. Michel de Cinxa. The museum said nearly 1,000 people passed through for the concert, one of its most successful, sitting at tables, draped over balconies, and sitting on the stairs. The band started their set with Ku-Umba Frank Lacy vocalizing on “Hora Decubitus,” also known as “E’s Flat…,” which Elvis Costello penned lyrics to back in 2001, after the attacks on the World Trade Center. The tune appears on Costello’s most recent live recording with the Metropole Orchestra, My Flame Burns Blue.


  • “It takes a special kind of cool to navigate these complexly arranged charts at a blistering pace and still look completely relaxed about it,” writes the reviewer of the Mingus Big Band’s performance at the Toronto Jazz Festival, June 24. The full story, with some great pictures, can be read at the Live Music Report website.
  • A fine article appears in the August issue of Bass Player magazine about Mingus’s famous “Lion’s head” bass. The article, which appears in Dave Pomeroy’s month “Retro” column, gives an overview of the instrument, made in Germany in the 1920s, and talks about how the instrument feels to be played, and can be heard and seen played by Mingus band bassist and arranger Boris Kozlov.
  • The UK Observer released a list of its “Top 50 Music Books of All Time,” and Mingus’s autobiography, Beneath the Underdog, was ranked #9 by the newspaper’s editors.
  • Jazz Workshop signed off on Italian fashion hothouse Dolce & Gabbana’s proposed use of a Mingus’s classic, “Moanin’, in a world-wide television spot scheduled to air in October.

AND … Downbeat Magazine will be offering as a premium gift for its subscribers a MINGUS T-SHIRT at this year’s Chicago Jazz Festival. The festival runs from August 31 through Sept. 3rd.

To be continued …

2006 News Summary

Sue Mingus radio interview with Leigh Kamman on MPR.
Sun, Dec. 17 2006
Sue Mingus interviewed by legendary Leigh Kamman on Minneapolis Public Radio, Saturday,
December 16th about current Mingus releases.
Holiday Greeting from the Mingus Big Band
Sun, Dec. 17 2006
Mingus in new U2 Video
Sat, Dec. 16 2006
Mingus kicks off the bass line at 30 seconds and again appears two minutes in.
Mingus Dynasty rings in the New Year Eve at PER SE
Fri, Dec. 15 2006
New York, NY: On New Year’s Eve The Mingus Dynasty with special guest vocalist Renee Manning will perform at one of New York’s finest restaurants, Per Se, in the Time Warner Building overlooking Columbus Circle and Central Park. For reservations, please call 212-823-9335.
JazzUkes, of Ukulele Noir, plays Goodbye Pork Pie Hat on Ukulele
Wed, Dec. 13 2006
Mingus Big Band Live in Tokyo at the Blue Note nominated for Grammy.
Wed, Dec. 13 2006
Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album
Big Friendly Jazz Orchestra (Takasago High School Jazz Band), played Boogie Stop Shuffle at MOSAIC Jazz Festival, 5/5/2006
Wed, Dec. 13 2006
Boston Globe article praises Mingus at Iridium
Wed, Dec. 13 2006
Take the giant steps: Hitting a jazz club makes New York sound memorableBy David French, Globe Correspondent | December 10, 2006Tuesdays here are perhaps the best regular night of jazz in New York. The Mingus Big Band rocks the house with Charles Mingus’s uproarious, soulful, swinging compositions. Iridium is near Times Square, a short walk from many midtown hotels, and books some of the best musicians in the world.
Big Friendly Jazz Orchestra (Takasago High School Jazz Band), played Mingus at Japan Student Jazz Festival 2006.
Wed, Dec. 13 2006
Mingus Orchestra at Iridium, recap of Merkin Hall
Tue, Dec. 5 2006
Last week at Merkin Hall, the Mingus Orchestra with Gunther Schuller inspired two standing ovations and gave Merkin their first encore of their season! Everyone present agreed that the music was magical and marvelously executed! The Mingus Orchestra goes conductor-less TONIGHT at Iridium. This may be the last chance to catch them for several weeks as we bring the Mingus Big Band and the Dynasty into rotation for the holidays.
Three French awards for new release “Music Written For Monterey 1965 Not Heard…Played In Its Entirety At UCLA”
Tue, Dec. 5 2006
Music Written For Monterey 1965 Not Heard…
Played In Its Entirety At UCLA Choc of Jazzman magazinePrix Django ReinhardtPrix de l’Academie du Jazz
Sue Mingus radio interview with Janet Coleman on WBAI
Mon, Dec. 4 2006
Archive from NOVEMBER 27
Gore Vidal talks about his new memoir, “Point-to-Point Navigation” in an interview in early November at WBAI; Sue Mingus previews an upcoming concert of the Mingus Orchestra performing Gunther Schuller’s arrangements of Mingus’s “Noon Night,” “Half Mast Inhibition,” and “Taurus in the Arena of Life.” Hosted by Janet Coleman and David Dozer.Sue Mingus starts at 45 minutes.Podcast
Tuesday, Dec 5th Music of Charles Mingus, directed by Andy McKee at New School
Mon, Dec. 4 2006
Tuesday, Dec 5th 9:00 pmMusic of Charles Mingus, directed by Andy McKee

Mingus Big Band bassist Andy McKee leads students in a Mingus program.The New School55 West 13th St., Fifth Floor
Leonard Lopate radio interview with Gunther Schuller at
Sat, Dec. 2 2006
Gunther Schuller’s Many Musical HatsPulitzer Prize-winning composer, author, and scholar Gunther Schuller talks about his remarkable six-decade-long career in music–including his new arrangement of a work by Charles Mingus.You can also download it as mp3.
Tickets still available for Mingus Orchestra at Merkin Hall-Thur Nov 30
Wed, Nov. 29 2006
“Mingus Lives: there are no fewer than three legacy bands…
each is represented on “I Am Three,” a rousing album issued last year…and they all take turns holding down a Tuesday night engagement at the Iridium Jazz Club. And on Thursday at Merkin Hall, the upstart of the bunch-the Mingus Orchestra, a 10-piece chamber ensemble complete with French horn and bassoon – will come under the figurative baton of Gunther Schuller….. The evening should present an intriguing argument about Mingus the composer, through the prism of the Third Stream jazz-classical hybrid that Mr. Schuller has promulgated over the years.” Nate Chinen New York Times
Gunther Schuller conducts Mingus Orchestra at Merkin Hall, interview on The Leonard Lopate Show
Tue, Nov. 21 2006
November 30th GUNTHER SCHULLER conducts THE MINGUS ORCHESTRA at Merkin Hall: 81st Birthday Celebration. Be sure to check out a full 40-minute interview with Gunther Schuller on WNYC’S “Leonard Lopate Show” on Thursday, 11/30 at 1pm-2pm. 93.9fm/am 820
Mingus on the Hudson
Sun, Sep. 10 2006
A 15-foot stainless steel sculpture by the artist Hans Van de Bovenkamp is on exhibit at the Yellow Bird Gallery in Newburgh, New York through November 12th. The artist titled the work, which was completed in 2005, “Ode to Charles Mingus.”For an image, visit the Yellow Bird Gallery’s website.
Concert Review: MBB at Toronto Jazz Festival
Sun, Aug. 20 2006
A Massing of Mingus – The Live Music Report by Dave Barnes.
Charles Mingus remains with us in substance and style through the ensembles that carry forward his musical legacy. The 14-piece Mingus Big Band featured at the Toronto Jazz Festival is based in New York City and gets to pick the very best of local musicians, some 40 in all that rotate through the chairs to keep the momentum. Opening with a rousing version of “E’s Flat, Ah’s Flat Too” we wasted no time in launching into some serious and extended solos. First up was Lauren Sevian giving us a blistering baritone sax solo taking time to dip into the delicious lower register of this instrument. No chance to breathe because trombonist Ku-umba Frank Lacy is front and centre with an attack, energy and invention that has to be seen to be believed. It is hard to believe that a trombone slide can be manipulated that fast. Alex Sipiagin on trumpet immediately took control and led us to unexpected territory spun out of thin air. George Colligan’s forceful and authoritative piano gave over to a ferociously fast journey around the drum kit with Johnathan Blake. A few minutes into the set and already you had to have your wits about you to follow the action….
Bass Player Magazine: Mingus’s 1927 Ernst Heinrich Roth
Mon, Aug. 14 2006
The August 2006 issue of Bass Player magazine features an article about Mingus’s famous “Lion’s head” bass, and has plenty of fine things to say about the Mingus Big Band and “I Am Three,” as well as a brief history of the instrument, which was made in Germany in the 1920s. Check out the full story at Bass Player Magazine:
Mingus’s Impulse! Recordings Re-issued
Sat, Jul. 1 2006
The current keepers of the historic Impulse! catalog have released numerous single- disc compilations of its greatest artists, among them Charles Mingus, to coincide with Ashley Kahn’s book, “The House That Trane Built” (Norton), a new book about the ascension of the jazz record label. The Mingus compilation is a well thought-out sampler of the bassist-composer-bandleader’s tenure with the label – The Black Saint and The Sinner Lady, Mingus Plays Piano, and Pre-Bird, to name just three – were recorded for Impulse!. There’s also a four-CD “soundtrack” to the book of the same name – on that, only one Mingus track appears – “Theme For Lester Young,” off the Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus recording.
Concert Review: Toronto Star
Fri, Jun. 30 2006
Mingus Big Band Live at Nathan Philips Square
June 24, 2006 The 14-piece Mingus Big Band ran through a six pack that pretty much covered the tempestuous bassist’s major stylistic twists and turns. Beginning with a superb rendition of “E’s Flat and Ah’s Flat Too,” a driving hard-bop blues, the band moved into the modal, rhythmically shifting jazz waltz “Meditations.” A faithful reading of “Baby Take a Chance with Me” followed, featuring the soulful vocal work of trombonist Ku-umba Frank Lacy. Equally strong were the squeaking, squawking “Birdcalls,” which Mingus wrote for Charlie Parker, and “Sweet Sucker Dance,” featuring the work of tenorman, Seamus Blake, the band’s lone Canadian.But the high point was the finale, “Haitian Fight Song,” the polyrhythmic Mingus signature built on a simple four-note bass line and double-tongued, double-triplet trombone melody, and featuring some of the most unusual sounds – but appropriate – ever coaxed from a tuba.Complex, multidimensional compositions from a complex, multidimensional artist who seems only now to be getting the recognition he deserved before he died in 1979.- Robert Wright, Toronto Star
“Underdog” Cracks the OMM Top 10
Sun, Jun. 18 2006
The UK-newspaper The Observer’s monthly OMM (Observer Music Monthly) lists its top 50 music books of all time, and Charles Mingus’s Beneath the Underdog is voted #9. Canongate publishes the edition in the UK, and here in the states, Vintage.
Senator Hagel, Jazz Fan
Fri, Jun. 9 2006
According to an article appearing in yesterday’s Financial Times of London, Chuck Hagel, senator from Nebraska, invoked the words of “jazz bassist Charlie Mingus” when he launched a recent Senate banking committee hearing into the role of hedge funds in the US economy. “Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple – awesomely simple – that’s creativity,” he quoted Mingus as saying. Then he added some words of his own: “Suffice it to say, we’re looking for creativity from our witnesses today”.The Senator from Nebraska isn’t the first to invoke that particular quote.
Costello-McPartland at Tanglewood
Fri, May. 5 2006
The Boston Symphony Orchestra announced the addition of Elvis Costello to the 2006 Tanglewood Jazz Festival line-up. Costello will be the special guest of Marian McPartland for a live taping of her NPR program, “Piano Jazz.” McPartland and Costello will perform Saturday, September 2, at 3:00 pm at Ozawa Hall. According to Costello, duo will perform the Mingus ballad “Self-Portrait in Three Colors.”
MBB Nominated by Jazz Journalists
Fri, May. 5 2006
The Mingus Big Band was nominated in the Best Big Band category by the Jazz Journalists Association. The 10th annual Jazz Journalists Awards will be held on June 19 at B.B. King’s Club. In other categories, two MBB members were nominated in their respective instrumental categories: Ronnie Cuber (baritone saxophone) and Conrad Herwig (trombone).
Mingus Music in “The Notorious Bettie Page”
Fri, May. 5 2006
Mary Harron’s new film (released April 2006) about the life of risque pinup model Bettie Page (starring Gretchen Mol) is packed with musical gems – including Charles Mingus’s “Love Chant.” The tune was originally released on 1956’s Atlantic recording Pithecanterous Erectus, and is now included on the CD soundtrack, along with tracks by Julie London, Patsy Cline, Jeri Southern, Esquival, Artie Shaw, Art Pepper and Hank Ballard.
Dynasty on Location: Mexico City & Cuernavaca
Fri, May. 5 2006
Documentary filmmaker Regis Trigano (“Arakimentary” and “Strange Fruit”) will film the Mingus Dynasty performing concerts in Mexico City and in Cuernavaca, June 8 – 12, as well as scenes from Sue Mingus’s memoir, “Tonight at Noon,” which take place in Mexico. Trigano is currently working on a film about Sue Mingus and the Mingus repertory bands.
Mingus Films at JVC Jazz Festival
Fri, May. 5 2006
Makor ‘s Jazz On Film series during this year’s JVC Jazz Festival includes screenings of “Mingus”(1968) Directed by Thomas Reichman (58 minutes) and “Other Voices – The Meditations of Charles Mingus ” (1964) – footage provided courtesy of the CBC (29 minutes). Andrew Homzy, professor of Jazz Studies at Concordia University and author of the book “More Than a Fakebook: The Music Of Charles Mingus,” will introduce the films, and there will be a post-screening discussion with Sue Mingus. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. and tickets are $15. Makor is located at 35 West 67th St., New York.Purchase Information
Call: Makor Charge 212-601-1000
In person at: Steinhardt Building
35 West 67th St.
Hours: Mon-Thu 9am-10pm, Fri 9am-5pm, Sat 7pm-12am (event nights only), Sun 9am-10pm.
“Hora Decubitus” Kicks Off New Elvis CD
Sun, Apr. 30 2006
Elvis Costello’s new album, “My Flame Burns Blue,” released earlier this spring on Universal with the Metropole Orchestra, opens with a lively performance of Charles Mingus’s “Hora Decubitus.” Costello put lyrics to the tune when he first performed with the Charles Mingus Orchestra in 2001. The eclectic set includes new material to Costello as well as reinterpretations of his classics like “Almost Blue,” “Watching the Detectives” and “Clubland” – the latter arranged by Sy Johnson. (Johnson also arranged “Almost Ideal Eyes”). Elvis will perform with the Metropole Orchestra on Friday, May 12 at BAM.
Genius, Madness, and Mingus
Sun, Apr. 30 2006
In a review entitled “Touched by Fire,” Washington Post book reviewer Sara Sklaroff discusses Jeffrey A. Kottler’s new book, “Divine Madness – Ten Stories of Creative Struggle” — a book concerned with “the fine line between genius and madness.” Among other 20th and 2lst century artists, she says, the portrait of Charles MIngus, was “one of the most gripping.” Publisher: Jossey-Bass. 311 pp. $24.95
Mingus Music in Austin, TX
Sun, Apr. 30 2006
On June 23 and 24, Sue Mingus and Boris Koslov will visit with Tina Marsh and the Creative Opportunity Orchestra in Austin, Texas. CreOp, as the outfit is called, formed in 1980 by a group of professional musicians to perform original jazz and improvisational music in a large-band format. They will perform a concert of Mingus Music, with several arrangements by Boris Koslov. In a related event, Sue Mingus will read from her memoir, “Tonight at Noon.” Check back for more information on times and locations.
Mingus Birthday Broadcasts
Sat, Apr. 22 2006
In honor of Charles Mingus’s birthday – April 22 – jazz radio stations throughout the country are playing Mingus music. Check your local listings!Highlights include:- WKCR (88.9FM) in New York: 24 hours of Mingus music, part of the station’s Birthday Broadcast tradition. 12AM through 12PM. Primarily hosted by Phil Schaap. – XM Satellite Radio: Real Jazz (Channel XM 70) plays Mingus music every other hour from 8AM to 8PM EST.- Sirius Satellite Radio: Pure Jazz (Channel 72) celebrates the birth of Mingus with a day of music curated by Sue Mingus. Every hour Sirius will play a Mingus tune chosen by Sue, who will discuss each one. Starting at 10AM EST.
Mingus Dynasty at Sweet Rhythm TONIGHT
Thu, Mar. 23 2006
The 7-piece Mingus Dynasty will perform two sets at Sweet Rhythm on tonight, Thursday, March 23. Sets are at 9:00 and 11:00 and features among the line up Boris Koslov, bass; Craig Handy and Seamus Blake, saxophones; Donald Edwards, drums, Alex Sipiagin, trumpet; Orrin Evans, piano; and Luis Bonilla, trombone.
New MBB and Legacy recordings
Mon, Feb. 13 2006
The Mingus Big Band made a live recording at the Blue Note in Tokyo, New Year’s Eve, Dec. 3lst, 2005-06. This recording, together with the Charles Mingus live album,”Music Written for Monterey, Not Played, Performed at UCLA, l965″ –which has never before appeared on CD — will be
issued simultaneously in September 2006 on the SueMingusMusic label, distributed by
Sunnyside and Universal Music. Together, these two albums offer an opportunity to hear
Charles Mingus performing his own music live in l965, as well as today’s musicians
carrying his huge legacy of composition into the future.
Calling All Cats
Mon, Feb. 13 2006
Calling All CatsIt has come to our attention, thanks to the many Friends of Mingus, that a slew of Johnny-come lately cats are peddling cat toilet training books all over the Internet. Now, these authors, whether they know it or not, obviously drew inspiration from Nightlife, Charles Mingus’s cat. Says Sue: “We know of no photos prior to Nightlife’s breakthrough in 1958 of cats using toilets and invite anyone to prove us wrong.” Indeed, the Charles Mingus Cat Toilet Training Program, a fold-out brochure, was distributed as a bonus to subscribers of Sue’s Changes magazine in 1972. The manual can be viewed on the Mingus website, in the “In His Own Words” pages.
MBB in Iowa, Minnesota Feb. 18-21
Mon, Feb. 13 2006
Fans in the mid-west still have time to catch a few Mingus Big Band performances:
Saturday, Feb. 18 at the College of St. Benedict, in St. Joseph, Minnesota (about two
hours west of Minneapolis. In the afternoon, members of the Mingus Big Band will participate in a school clinic in which students will perform Charles Mingus’s “Haitian Fight Song.”
On Sunday, Feb. 19 the band will perform two sets at the Dakota Jazz Club in St. Paul; and Tuesday, Feb. 21 members of the band will appear on “Good Morning, Iowa,” a television show in the morning. In the afternoon, they will participate in an afternoon clinic at the University of Iowa, in which students will perform three Mingus compositions, including “Pinky: Please Don’t Come Back From the Moon.” In the evening, the Mingus Big Band will perform a concert at Hancher Auditorium at the University. Note: An acclaimed first novel by Dean Bakopoulos (Harvast/Harcourt) entitled, “Please Don’t Come Back From the Moon,” after Mingus’s composition, has just been issued in paperback and recently singled out in the New York Times.
Mingus Music in Film and on Campus
Mon, Feb. 13 2006
Two documentary filmmakers have relied heavily on the music of Charles Mingus’s 1959
Blues and Roots recording to augment their films. One, entitled “Venice West and the LA
Scene” by director Mary Kerr, will screen at the Centre Pompidou in Paris from March 7
– July 17, 2006 to coincide with the museum’s major exhibit of California artists.
The film gives a many-sided history of this particular scene of artists and poets that
emerged in the early 1960s. Another film, entitled “East of Paradise” by director Lech
Kowalski, can currently be seen on French-German channel Arte. The film is in two parts;
the first is about the filmmaker’s mother as a prisoner in a Russian Gulag; the second
part is about the director’s experiences living in New York’s Lower East Side in the
1970s and 80s. The director is known for earlier films about the Sex Pistols and Johnny
Thunders.On TV, the popular show Cold Case used a version of “Haitian Fight Song” to accompany a
scene in episode #51 entitled “Committed.” The episode first aired in October 2005, and
is in reruns this spring. The same episode also used songs by Thelonious Monk and Julie
London.A musicologist and doctoral candidate at the Graduate Center of the City University of
New York, Jennifer Griffith, has presented a dissertation on the music of Mingus as it
relates to New Orleans jazz and to Jelly Roll Morton. Griffith makes the case that
Mingus’s work represents innovations within the tradition that provide a link between
early practices of collective improvisation in New Orleans and the avant-garde players
of the 1960s. Griffith traces the legacy of Morton and how his music served Mingus in
“making meaning of his own experience as a musician, and a black American, as well as
making his mark in the history of jazz.”Also fresh off the academic press is David Yaffe’s Fascinating Rhythm: Reading Jazz In
American Writing, just published by Princeton University Press. Yaffe, an English prof
at Syracuse and pop culture critic, was spotted grooving to the Big Band at Iridium
during IAJE week. And we didn’t count, but there were quite a few references to Mingus
in the index of Fascinating Rhythm.
“Epitaph” To Be Performed in 2007
Tue, Jan. 31 2006
“Epitaph,” Charles Mingus’s two-hour masterwork for 31 musicians, will be performed on May 16, 2007 at the Walt Disney Center in Los Angeles, California. Other performances are currently underway, including one on the east coast the New Brunswick State Theater. The concerts will coincide with what would have been the protean bassist, composer and bandleader’s 85th birthday. Epitaph was first performed at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center in 1989. It has not been performed in the United States since the early 1990s – again at Wolf Trap, Tanglewood, the Hollywood Bowl, San Francisco Symphony Hall, Cleveland Symphony Hall, and Chicago Symphony Hall, to name a few concert halls. It has been performed in all major capitals of Europe. In the
intervening years, missing sections of Epitaph have been located and would be premiered at the performances in 2007.Epitaph is the longest and most richly colored of jazz compositions. It lasts just over two hours, and includes a suite of 18 sections, and will be conducted by Gunther Schuller. The orchestra is an expanded big band of reed instruments
(including bassoon and contrabass clarinet along with saxophones), brasses (trumpets and trombones plus tuba) and rhythm section (two pianos, two basses, guitar, drums, percussion and vibraphone). The 1989 premiere was recorded by Columbia Records (now Sony) at Lincoln Center, and televised by British Channel 4 and subsequently released on video. It got incredible reviews everywhere and was called the “greatest jazz event of the decade” by the New York Times.The time is right to return this major work to visibility, says Sue Mingus, especially as the vast Mingus repertory becomes more familiar to American audiences through mainstream media including movie and television soundtracks, concert performances, and as a documentary subject – in fact, two documentaries about the repetory bands, are in the works by two different filmmakers.
IAJE Performance Set List
Sat, Jan. 14 2006
The Mingus Big Band, Orchestra, and Dynasty took the stage in the Metropolitan Ballroom in the Sheraton Hotel at 11:00 p.m. on Friday the 13th, as part of the annual IAJE conference. The performances, directed by Craig Handy, started with the Dynasty on “Pithecanterous Erectus” and “Devil Woman,” with Ku-umba Frank Lacy on vocals; followed by the Orchestra, “Chill of Death,” and “Todo Modo” (with Lacy conducting); ending with the Big Band, performing Boris Koslov’s new arrangement of “Opus Four,” and the late John Stubblefield’s arrangement of “Song With Orange.” The musicians on stage were an all-star line up combination: long-time members (Andy McKee, Conrad Herwig, Ronnie Cuber) to relative newcomers (Sean Jones, Jaleel Shaw, Abraham Burton) and included George Colligan, Donald Edwards, Wayne Escoffery, Michael Rabinowitz, Alex Sipiagin, Eddie “Doc” Henderson, Kenny Rampton, Dave Taylor, Doug Yates, Freddie Bryant, and Bobby Rouch. The performance by all three ensembles highlighted to perfection Gunther Schuller’s description of Mingus at a panel discussion earlier in the day: “Mingus,” says Schuller, “is a composer in the true sense of the word. You cannot have more musical diversity than this.”
Mingus Panel Discussion, Performance at IAJE A Success
Sat, Jan. 14 2006
All three ensembles played to a packed house of about 1,800 people in the Sheraton’s
Metropolitan Ballroom at the IAJE conference on Friday, Jan. 13. The performance showcased Mingus’s repertoire and perfectly complimented the Mingus Legacy panel discussion with Gunther Schuller, Andrew Homzy, Boris Koslov and Sue Mingus (Nat Hentoff, originally scheduled, was unable to attend at the last minute). The group discussed the new series of charts arranged by Andrew Homzy entitled Simply Mingus™ targeted for the middle-and-high school jazz bands, recently released by Hal Leonard. The intent of the charts is to make Mingus’s music – so often described as challenging – accessible to young musicians who may not be ready for the more advanced Mingus Big Band charts. Schuller talked about Mingus as a “composer in the true sense of the word — conceiving music in an original form,” and Koslov talked about his own experience with arranging Mingus music (one of which was performed by the BigBand later that evening, “Opus Four.”) A transcript of the panel discussion and recording of the concert is available from the International Association of Jazz Educators through their website, www.iaje.og. Simply Mingus, as well as other Mingus charts and fake books, can be purchased from the Hal Leonard website,, or through Amazon. Hal Leonard will offer two new Mingus Big Band charts this year – “Opus Four” and “Song With Orange,” both of which were performed at the IAJE concert.
Two More Mingus Events at IAJE Added
Mon, Jan. 9 2006
Two Mingus events have been added just before the Mingus Legacy panel discussion takes place on Friday, January 13. From 3:15-3:45 p.m. there will be a CD signing for Grammy award nominated “I Am Three” at the Tower Records pavillion on the third floor of the Hilton. Following the CD signing, Sue Mingus and Nat Hentoff will visit the WBGO broadcast booth from 4-4:30 p.m. where they will share their memories of Charles Mingus. Then, at 5:00 p.m., the panel discussion between Hentoff, Gunther Schuller and Andrew Homzy on the Legacy of Charles Mingus takes place at the Sheraton. Wrapping up the days events, the Mingus Big Band, Orchestra, and Dynasty perform in the evening concert series at the Metropolitan Ballroom in the Sheraton.
Simply Mingus™ Series for Jazz Ensembles On Sale!
Fri, Jan. 6 2006
The first three charts in the new Simply Mingus™ Series for Jazz Ensemble – “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat,” “Boogie Stop Shuffle,” and “Fables of Faubus” – are hot off the press and available through the Hal Leonard company for $50.00 each. The charts will also be available at the annual IAJE conference in New York, January 11-14th. The Simply Mingus™ series is developed by Andrew Homzy, a professor of music at Concordia University in Montreal. For more information, visit our Jazz Education section of this website.

2005 News Summary

“I Am Three” Nominated for Grammy Award
Mon, Dec. 12 2005
“I Am Three” has been nominated for a Grammy award in the category of Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album. “I Am Three” was released in June on the SueMingusMusic/Sunnyside label in the U.S. and through Universal Music Jazz France in September. It is the first of the eight repertoire recordings to feature all three ensembles currently performing live: the Mingus Big Band, the Mingus Orchestra, and the Mingus Dynasty. “I Am Three” will be competing with label-mate Dave Holland Big Band, the John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble, the Bill Holman Band, and the Chris Walden Big Band. The 48th Annual GRAMMY Awards will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 8, at Staples Center in Los Angeles and will be broadcast live on CBS from 8 – 11:30 p.m.
Jazz Workshop to Launch “Simply Mingus” Educational Series
Tue, Nov. 8 2005
New York, NY: Jazz Workshop, Inc. will launch “Simply Mingus,” a new educational series that includes special arrangements for high school and college students. The new series will serve as a companion piece to the existing arrangements currently available from the Mingus Big Band peforming books. Plans include upcoming competitions, workshops, and music clinics conducted by Mingus educators, arrangers and performers. The first charts will include “Boogie Stop Shuffle,” “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat,” and “Fables of Faubus.” The new arrangements are by Andrew Homzy and will be published by Hal Leonard. They will presented for the first time at the IAJE conference in January 2006. For more information about this series, please visit the “Jazz Education” section of our website, or contact Jazz Workshop at 212-736-4749.
Mingus Bands, Experts To Appear at IAJE Conference
Tue, Nov. 8 2005
New York, NY: The three working Mingus Bands – Mingus Big Band, Mingus Orchestra, and Mingus Dynasty – will perform at the 33rd annual International Association of Jazz Educators (IAJE) conference on Friday, January 13th, 2006 in the Hilton Ballroom. The concert is scheduled for 11:00 p.m. and will follow an earlier panel discussion on the influence and importance of Charles Mingus as composer & force in the world of jazz. Panel members include composer/conductor Gunther Schuller; journalist/educator Nat Hentoff; educator/musicologist Andrew Homzy; Sue Mingus and musicians from the bands. For more information about attending the conference, please visit the IAJE website at
Two New Mingus Recordings Available:
Thu, Nov. 3 2005
“Don’t Be Afraid…LCJO and Charles Mingus” joins the “I Am Three” cd featuring the three Mingus repertory bands.
New York, NY: For its second project taking on the masterpieces of jazz composition (the first being John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme), the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra selected the music of Charles Mingus. Don’t Be Afraid… The Music of Charles Mingus (Palmetto Records, 2005) takes its title from “Don’t Be Afraid, the Clown’s Afraid Too,” and features six Mingus compositions, including extended works “Black Saint and the Sinner Lady,” “Meditations on Integration,” and “Los Mariachis.” LCJO trombonist and part-time Mingus Big Band member Ron Westray arranged the music for the recording. Other musicians who have performed with the MBB on this recording include trumpter Ryan Kisor and trombonist Andre Hayward.
Pick up a copy of this release in addition to the MBB/Orchestra/Dynasty’s “I Am Three,” released in June 2005 on Sunnyside.
New Years Eve with Mingus Dynasty at “Per Se”!
Tue, Nov. 1 2005
New York, NY: On New Year’s Eve The Mingus Dynasty will perform three sets at one of New York’s finest restaurants, “Per Se”, in the Time Warner Building overlooking Columbus Circle and Central Park. Vocalist Renee Manning will join the Dynasty on this exclusive bill which features Randy Brecker on trumpet and Saturday Night Live band’s Alex Foster on saxophone. Per Se was in the news recently as the recipient of one of the rare three-star ratings from the French restaurant guide, Michelin.
For information or reservations, please call 212-823-9335.
SueMingusMusic Plans Second Release
Thu, Oct. 27 2005
New York, NY: SueMingusMusic/Universal Jazz France is planning to reissue for the first time on CD Charles Mingus’s “Music Written For Monterey, Not Played, Performed At UCLA 1965.” Originally issued as a limited edition on the Charles Mingus Enterprises label, the scheduled release date is April, 2006, and will feature orginal Mingus artwork, photographs, and new liner notes.
Mingus Big Band Rings in New Year in Tokyo
Thu, Oct. 6 2005
Tokyo, Japan: The Mingus Big Band will perform at the premier jazz venue in Toyko, the Blue Note, from December 26 through 31st, including New Year’s Eve. For information or reservations, call 03-5485-0088 or visit the Blue Note website at . The Blue Note Toyko is celebrating its 17th Anniversary!
Mingus Inducted into Jazz Hall of Fame
Fri, Sep. 9 2005
New York, NY: Jazz at Lincoln Center inducted Charles Mingus into the Nesuhi Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame in a private ceremony at Frederick P. Rose Hall, home of Jazz at Lincoln Center. This was the second year of the ceremonies. Sue Mingus attended the event with Sunnyside Records president, Francois Zalacain. Also inducted were Count Basie, Roy Eldridge, Ella Fitzgerald, Benny Goodman, Earl Hines, Johnny Hodes, Jo Jones, King Oliver, Max Roach, Sonny Rollins, and Fats Waller. A 58-person international voting panel, which includes musicians, scholars and educators from 17 countries, was charged with nominating and selecting these definitive jazz artists. Each year, criteria for nomination into the hall include excellence and the significance of the artists’ contributions to the development and perpetuation of jazz. The Nesuhi Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame was named by Jazz at Lincoln Center Board member Ahmet Ertegun and his wife, Mica, in honor of his late brother and Atlantic Records partner, Nesuhi Ertegun. Charles Mingus recorded many of his most well-known compositions, including “Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting,” “Haitian Fight Song,” and “Moanin” when Nesuhi headed Atlantic’s jazz department. Albums from this period, which have been reissued on Rhino, include Blues and Roots, Oh Yeah, and The Clown.
Construction on the Charles Mingus Arts Center in Watts to Begin
Fri, Jul. 15 2005
Los Angeles, CA: The Los Angeles Board of Public Works finally awarded a contract to start construction on the Charles Mingus/Watts Junior Arts Center. The initial ceremony was held in February 2003 by the Cultural Affairs Department of the City of Los Angeles. The $2.7 million project calls for the construction of the center at 10624 Graham Avenue in the Watts community. When completed, the two-story facility will feature classrooms, a show gallery and administrative offices. Construction is expected to take approximately a year and half to complete. The Junior Arts Center will provide educational opportunities and present exhibitions on a regular basis to showcase the creative talents of young people in the community. Click here to read an excerpt Mingus’s autobiography, Beneath the Underdog, about his connection to the Watts Towers, and legendary artist Simon Rodia.