The Rivers Select 1 Combo spent this past weekend in Manhattan at the 2015 Charles Mingus High School Jazz Competition. The quartet was one of just three ensembles in the non-Performing Arts High school category selected as finalists from the nationwide competition and was the recipient of the Mingus Spirit Award.
The Spirit Award is, in the words of Sue Mingus, “the most important award at the competition” as it is given to the ensemble whose spirit best reflects the unique style of the late Charles Mingus. Rachel Hawley ’15 was awarded an honorable mention for her performances on bass.
Sue Mingus with Esteban Castro, 12 years old, who played with both the 46th St Ensemble and the Jazz House Kids Big Band at the 7th Annual Charles Mingus High School Competition and Festival, and sat in with the Mingus Big Band on Sunday night! (He was incredible!)
One of the great jazz traditions in New York is the Monday-night performances by the Mingus Big Band at the Jazz Standard. When I heard them there on Jan. 12, the top soloists were saxophonist Wayne Escoffery, trombonist Frank Lacy, and trumpeter Alex Norris. Norris, of course, grew up in Howard County and teaches jazz part time at the Peabody Institute. And at the Jazz Standard’s bar, he told me he’d be holding the special “pre-release” show for his new album, “Extension Deadline,” at Peabody on Jan. 27.
Yesterday the Mingus Underground Octet closed the South Coast Jazz Festival in the U.K. Notes from the review:
“The Mingus Underground Octet mined the labyrinthine oeuvre of a truculent talent…
Highlights on the night were Fables Of Faubus, a caustic blast at the endemic racism of the United States, and Better Git It In Your Soul which featured a howling solo from tenor saxophonist Terry Pack.”