Bassist, pianist and composer Charles Mingus is remembered for his adventurous compositions and larger-than-life personality. Notoriously temperamental, fans would show up to his gigs just to see who he might fire or what outrageous thing he might do. Behind the theatricality was a keen intellect and prodigious talent. As a bassist, his skill was second to none. As a composer, he stands with Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk as one of the most creative artists in modern jazz.
His music covered a lot of territory - it was steeped in blues and gospel. It was full of wide intervals, complex melodies, and manic changes of mood and tempo. His music was playful, political, sometimes humorous and sometimes poignant, but always reflective of his personality. Unlike Monk or Ellington, it's rarely performed live. This Sunday, June 9 from 7:30 p.m to 9:30 p.m., a concert of Mingus compositions performed by local artists will be presented at Firehouse Theatre. It's a benefit to raise money to fight ALS, the disease that took Mingus' life in 1979.
The organizer of the event is drummer Brian Jones. In this segment, Brian discusses the origins of the project, talks about what keeps him coming back to Mingus' music and describes the groups that will be playing in the concert.
For information and tickets, go to this website.
To listen to or purchase a recording of the 2016 Mingus Awareness Project, go here.
The musical excerpts in this segment include Charles Mingus performing Bird Calls and Goodbye Pork Pie Hat from Mingus Ah Um, Slop from Mingus Dynasty, Hora Decubitus from Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus, and Ecclusiastics from Oh Yeah. The D'earth/Thompson band featuring guitarist Jamal Milner is heard performing Future Blues from the album When the Serpent Flies. There's also an excerpt of Adam Larabee's trio in this YouTube video.