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3-Day Charles Mingus Tribute at Manhattan School of Music, February 20-22


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A 3-day tribute to Charles Mingus will take place at Manhattan School of Music, Feb. 20 - 22. It begins on Friday, Feb. 20, with a keynote address to be given by Gunther Schuller, followed by a panel discussion on Mingus and his music--panelists moderated by Justin DiCioccio, will include musicians who performed with Mingus, as well as Gunther Schuller and Sue Mingus; and on Saturday and Sunday performances by Manhattan School jazz ensembles as well as the Mingus Dynasty will be featured. All events are FREE and open to the public.

However, the highlight of the Mingus Summit will be the 1st Annual Charles Mingus High School Competition. This competition, the brainchild of Sue Mingus, was open to high school bands from the Northeast. (Next year it will be open to high schools nationwide.) Some 60 submissions were received from high schools hailing from New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Connecticut for the pre-screening round, which was judged by Justin DiCioccio, Robin Eubanks and Vincent Herring. Five finalists in each of the two categories - big band and jazz combo - were selected. They will be showcased in the competition's final round taking place on Sunday, Feb. 22 in Manhattan School of Music's John C. Borden Auditorium. An awards ceremony will be held on Sunday, following a 5 pm concert to be given by the Manhattan School of Music Jazz Orchestra and Mingus Dynasty that will include Boris Kozlav (playing Mingus's lionhead bass); Vincent Herring, Conrad Herwig, Donny McCaslin, Justin Faulkner, Alix Sipiagin, and Helen Sung. Awards will be given to Best Big Band, Best Combo, Outstanding Soloists, Outstanding Big Band section, and Outstanding combo arrangement as well as two scholarships to attend Manhattan School of Music.

Sue Mingus and Justin DiCioccio are the event's producers. Sue Mingus said, “Our adjudicators were impressed by the high quality of the submissions and thrilled to hear Mingus' music played with such heart and commitment. We are all very excited to see Mingus' energy thriving and inspiring these young musicians." Justin DiCioccio, who chairs the MSM Jazz Department and who was one of the first jazz educators to introduce Mingus' music to students some thirty years ago said, “Not only was Mingus the foremost jazz bassist of his time, but as a composer his music has the essence of what jazz is about." With this competition and summit, Sue Mingus and Justin DiCioccio will be keeping the legacy of Charles Mingus - with both his essence and music - alive and in the forefront for so many young student musicians, who were not even born until some 17 or 18 years following Mingus' death in 1979.

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