New York–based drummer Devin Gray says that a large-ensemble job he picked up over the summer was like many paying gigs: Show up and then find out who you’re playing with and what you’re playing. Some of the music was that of Charles Mingus, which Gray knew from his undergraduate days playing in a large ensemble that at the time was called the Peabody Big Band. “So I show up 5 minutes before the show, set up, and the leader’s just handing out tunes” on sheet music, says Gray, who graduated from the Peabody Institute’s Jazz Studies Department in 2006. “Three of them were Mingus tunes—and two of them, I remembered the whole arrangement. And when I was playing those tunes I could remember playing in the [Peabody] big band. And I was like, Whoa—I know this music.” …
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Thank you to Ronnie Scott’s for hosting a great week of Mingus music in London!
“Profound… The moments when the band came together were the most fascinating, because you could see anarchy and tight discipline rubbing shoulders… Holding these things in balance is bound to stir up unruly emotions, not at all of them bright. Sometimes it seemed as if the sheer intensity on that stage could spill over into a fist-fight. That feeling carries us back to something primordial in jazz, which is why these annual visits by the Mingus Big Band have become a fixture in the jazz-lover’s calendar.”
“A great tradition has been invented: this time of year has become synonymous with the Mingus Big Band spending a week at Ronnie Scott’s. Impressive display of interplay and remarkable improvisational talent present all evening.”
“The 14-piece ensemble that plays the music of Charles Mingus is a big beast of an orchestra that roars mightily but knows how to seductively purr when revealing the wry sensitivity that was also an integral part of the great bassist-pianist-composer’s psyche. “
Tuesday, Oct 28th, 2014
Manhattan School of Music
Carla Bossi Comelli Studio (7th Floor)
120 Claremont Ave. (122nd St. near Broadway)
Lecture by Ken Pullig of Berklee College of Music
Presented by Sue Mingus & Let My Children Hear Music, Inc.
Free & Open to the Public!
Ken Pullig is the retired Chair of Jazz Composition at Berklee College of Music where he taught Mingus for three decades. He is also the author of the upcoming book– Mingus Music!
In memory of her husband, Sue Mingus participates in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge!
In 1977, Charles Mingus was diagnosed with ALS. On January 5, 1979, he passed away at age 56 in Mexico. He was cremated the next day. On the day of his death, 56 sperm whales beached themselves in Mexico and were removed by fire.
Note: Ice water tossed by Executive Chef James Kent of Danny Meyer’s Nomad Restaurant