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Charles Mingus and Duke Ellington left the largest legacy of composition in American music. While both composers’ music is performed by high school and college jazz ensembles, Mingus music is often described as challenging for young musicians to handle. Without in any way tampering with the integrity, intensity, and identity of Mingus music ­ its soaring melodies and harmonic inventiveness ­ the Jazz Workshop introduces a new series of charts for young musicians that strike a balance between written and improvised passages.

Unlike the Duke Ellington charts developed by the Essentially Ellington program at Jazz at Lincoln Center, which stresses the authenticity of the material, Jazz Workshop has a different approach. While we offer charts that may be performed at advanced levels, this series includes charts of less daunting, more accessible, and just as joyful music enabling young musicians to get more out of the expression and experience of playing the music without worrying only about playing the notes.

* Charts are arranged to involve every band member in having an opportunity to play the melody and participate in improvised passages;

* Fully-written rhythm section parts for piano and bass;

* Trumpet and trombone parts are written within reasonable upper ranges

The Simply Mingus™ series offers playable ensemble passages as alternatives to improvised solos. While integrative improvisation is a hallmark of Mingus composition, often times a band will not have enough strong soloists in all sections. For example, some saxophonists cannot play complicated ranges at certain fast tempos. These alternative passages help establish some of the criteria for young improvisors, allowing more band members to participate in the performance and provide a satisfying experience for both the band and the audience.

“The quality of the charts is excellent, and that is what drives the band directors and the students— they’ll work hard if it is worth the effort.”
—Dr. Daniel Barry, Marina Music Service

“Fantastic. The Simply Mingus series gives young musicians access to the repertory in ways that were previously off-limits, and it is succeeding at getting more students involved in the music.”
—Kaylee Longman, St. John’s Music

Available through Hal Leonard and music resellers nationwide

Simply Mingus Series for Jazz Ensemble

– Better Get Hit in Your Soul – 7011449 – $55.00
– Boogie Stop Shuffle – #7011215 – $50.00
– Duke Ellington’s Sound of Love – 7011483 – $50.00
– Fables of Faubus – 7011439 – $50.00
– Goodbye Pork Pie Hat – #7011217 – $50.00
– Haitian Fight Song – #7011219 – $50.00
– Jelly Roll – 7011437 – $50.00
– Moanin’ – 7011485 – $55.00
– Nostalgia in Times Square 7011441 – $50.00


O.P. (Oscar Pettiford)
Charles Mingus/arr. Sy Johnson
Jazz Workshop, Inc.
Titled in honor of Charles Mingus’ good friend and mentor Oscar Pettiford, this swing chart opens with the two tenors, followed by all the saxes, and finally the entire ensemble. Whether you play this at a medium tempo or as a blazing burner, the result is the same ­ a unique-sounding chart that swings like crazy.

Self-Portrait in Three Colors
Charles Mingus/arr. Sy Johnson
Jazz Workshop, Inc.
Originally recorded by Charles Mingus on his Mingus Ah Um album in 1959, Sy Johnson has transformed this through-composed ballad into a stunningly beautiful setting for full jazz ensemble. Featuring effective dynamic contours, a nice variety of textures, and solos for trumpet and tenor, this will become a focal point for concerts or festivals.

The Simply Mingus™ series of charts is developed by Andrew Homzy, a professor of music at Concordia University in Montreal. Professor Homzy catalogued the complete Mingus collection from 1984-87 during which time he found and pieced together the 500-page “Epitaph,” Mingus’s magnum opus. Simply Mingus charts are derived from Mingus Big Band arrangements by Andrew Homzy, Sy Johnson, Boris Kozlov, Jack Walrath, Ronnie Cuber, Steve Slagle, Gunther Schuller, and others.