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Mingus Big Band Live at Jazz Standard Live at Jazz StandardThe Mingus Big Band

Release Date: 4/22/10
Jazz Workshop, Inc./Jazz Standard

“Every tune a classic, every player a master, every tune sounding new, every player keeping the spirit of Charles Mingus alive and swinging!” -Michael Bourne, WBGO

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Randy Brecker, Kenny Rampton and Earl Gardner

Wayne Escoffery and Abraham Burton
Tenor Saxophone

Vincent Herring
Alto Saxophone

Douglas Yates
Alto, Soprano Saxophone and Flute

Lauren Sevian
Baritone Saxophone

Ku-Umba Frank Lacy and Conrad Herwig

Earl McIntyre
Bass Trombone and Tuba

David Kikoski

Boris Kozlov

Jeff “Tain” Watts

1. Gunslinging Bird 7:31
(Arr. Steve Slagle) Solos: Vincent Herring, Boris Kozlov and Jeff “Tain” Watts

2. New Now Know How 5:58
(Arr. Sy Johnson) Solos: David Kikoski, Randy Brecker and Kenny Rampton

3. Self-Portrait In Three Colors 2:53
(Arr. David Berger)

4. Bird Calls 5:50
(Arr. Ronnie Cuber)

5. E’s Flat Ah’s Flat Too (Aka “Hora Decubitus”) 7:08
(Lyrics: Elvis Costello) (Arr. Sy Johnson)
Solos: Ku-Umba Frank Lacy: Vocals, Conrad Herwig and Abraham Burton

6. Cryin’blues 7:35
(Arr. Boris Kozlov) Solos: Kenny Rampton and Ku-Umba Frank Lacy

7. Open Letter To Duke 7:12
(Arr. Steve Slagle) Solo: Wayne Escoffery

8. Moanin’ 9:35
(Arr. Sy Johnson) Solos: Lauren Sevian and David Kikoski

9. Goodbye Pork Pie Hat 5:52
(Lyrics: Joni Mitchell) (Arr. Sy Johnson)
Solos: Ku-Umba Frank Lacy: Vocals and Wayne Escoffery

10. Song With Orange 12:23
(Arr. John Stubblefield)
Solos: Randy Brecker, Earl McIntyre, Douglas Yates and David Kikoski

All Songs Written By Charles Mingus [Copyright Jazz Workshop, Inc.]

On New Year’s Eve, 2008/2009, the Mingus Big Band celebrated some of Charles Mingus’ best-known tunes from exactly fifty years before, released in 1959 during one of the most productive and creative periods in jazz. On stage at Jazz Standard in New York City, NPR-WBGO broadcast the event across the country in their annual “Toast of the Nation.” At midnight the band broke into John Stubblefield’s explosive arrangement of “Song with Orange,” bringing the evening’s performance to a close and the audience to its feet.

Just as 1939 was a year of iconic films that included movies as diverse as Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz, twenty years later a series of classic jazz albums appeared that showcased works by Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Dave Brubeck, Ornette Coleman and three seminal recordings by Charles Mingus: Mingus Ah Um, Mingus Dynasty and Blues & Roots. Tunes like “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat,” “Better Get Hit in Your Soul” and “Moanin’” entered the American lexicon.

Today, the Mingus Big Band, one of three repertory bands carrying on the sprawling legacy of Mingus composition, continues its weekly presence in Manhattan which began in 1991 and continues in its current residency at Jazz Standard. Since October 2008, Mingus Mondays has been a fixture on the New York scene. This first recorded collaboration between Mingus music and Jazz Standard preserves what Michael Bourne, Master of Ceremonies that evening, hailed as one of the best he had hosted in twenty-two years of NPR New Year’s Eve broadcasts: “every tune a classic, every player a master, every tune sounding new, every player keeping the spirit of Charles Mingus alive and swinging!”

The Mingus Big Band’s concert before a sold-out crowd showcased the wide variety of Mingus repertory and featured dance tunes, gospel hollers, church music, lush ballads and, of course, the blues. The recording opens with Boris Kozlov on Charles Mingus’s lion’s head bass introducing “Gunslinging Bird,” a tribute to Charlie Parker (subtitle: “If Charlie Parker were a gunslinger there’d be a whole lot of dead copycats!”) and concludes with a drum solo by Jeff “Tain” Watts. The title “New Now Know How” refers to its irregularity (8 1/2 bar phrases and a 7 bar bridge) and should be a question, according to arranger Sy Johnson. Performed for the first time since 1959, this version features a trumpet exchange between Kenny Rampton and Randy Brecker. Brecker recorded with Charles Mingus on his last album and has played in Mingus repertory bands since they first began, thirty years ago.

Following “Self-Portrait in Three Colors” and “Bird Calls,” trombone/vocalist Ku-umba Frank Lacy interprets Elvis Costello’s lyrics on “Hora Decubitus” whose title, translated from Latin, means “Time for Bed” -seemingly a misnomer with its fierce tempo. “Cryin’ Blues” has a new arrangement by Kozlov for the smaller Mingus Dynasty band and features seven of the fourteen Big Band musicians. Like “New Now Know How,” it has not been performed since the original recording. “Open Letter To Duke,” an extended work, has been slightly shortened for this performance and is followed by two of Mingus’ best known compositions: “Moanin’” and “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat.” “Song with Orange” concludes the evening and Michael Bourne points out that, while routine comments about New Year’s Eve may refer to time passing, “what’s obvious about this night is that the music -composed fifty and more years ago- is timeless.”
-Sue Mingus

This music was originally broadcast live on Toast Of The Nation from NPR Music
Produced By Mark Schramm, Thurston Briscoe And Becca Pulliam For WBGO
under the musical direction of Sue Mingus
Recording Engineers Duke Markos with David Tallacksen and Josh Webb
Remote Facilities by Steve Remote [Aura Sonic Ltd.]
Mixing and Mastering Tom Swift [Fame Studios/Swift Kick Productions]
Cover Illustration and CD Illustration Heewon Kim
Art Direction and Design Edgard Moscatelli [ECM Design]
Booking by Tree Lawn Artists, Inc.

Special thanks to:
Michael Bourne, Shannon Manning, Danny Meyer, Mark Maynard-Parisi, Kenny Callaghan, Karin Matthews, Zak Shelby-Szyszko, Josh Richholt, Rob Duguay, Martin Goodman, Andrew Haskell, Susanna Ungaro, and Pei Chin Ho

Produced by Sue Mingus and Seth Abramson

© 2010 Jazz Workshop, Inc. and Jazz Standard

Correction from first pressing: missing Douglas Yates solo on Song With Orange