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Mingus Big Band: The Essential Mingus Big Band

Jim Santella By

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Folks who are new to jazz usually know about Charles Mingus right from the start. The feeling, however, comes when you’re ready for it. Some feel it right off. Others learn about Mingus music gradually.

For over a decade, the Mingus Big Band has served its public well. Weekly appearances at the Fez in New York, international tours, and five grand Dreyfus recordings have served those of us who need frequent revisits. The emotional lift you get from Mingus’ music goes far beyond the ordinary. The band has always been able to capture and interpret those feelings appropriately. This compilation serves both as an introduction and as a summary.

Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to meet many students of the art; folks who’ve only just begun to know jazz. Their introduction usually includes Miles, Monk, Mingus, Bird, Brubeck, Getz, Ellington, and Satchmo. More or less. Even Wynton sometimes crops up in this kind of dialogue. My end of the conversation usually includes one or more pleasant anecdotes about my Mingus collection and the effect his music has had on me. Like the time I was riding a crowded bus home from work with “Black Saint and the Sinner Lady” blaring through my headphones, and ... You get the idea.

Comprised of Charles Mingus compositions, The Essential Mingus Big Band compilation includes selections from:

Nostalgia In Times Square (1993)
Gunslinging Birds (1995)
Live In Time (1996)
¡Que Viva Mingus! (1997)
and
Blues & Politics (1999).

Key soloists and authentic arranging brings the music back with Mingus' original spirit and power. Rhythms move your body, while outstanding big band material moves your intellect. As long as the Mingus Big Band continues to revive his music, the spirit of Mingus lives.


Track Listing: Haitian Fight Song; Gunslinging Bird; Eat That Chicken; Self Portrait in Three Colors; Moanin'; Boogie Stop Shuffle; Nostalgia in Times Square; Goodbye Pork Pie Hat; Fables of Faubus/Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting.

Personnel: Steve Slagle, Alex Foster- alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, flute; David Lee Jones, Gary Bartz, Vincent Herring, Bobby Watson- alto saxophone; John Stubblefield- tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, flute; Mark Shim- tenor saxophone, clarinet; Chris Potter- tenor saxophone, alto saxophone; Craig Handy, Seamus Blake- tenor saxophone; Ronnie Cuber, Gary Smulyan- baritone saxophone; Randy Brecker, Ryan Kisor, Earl Gardner, Philip Harper, Jack Walrath- trumpet; Alex Sipiagin- trumpet & flugelhorn; Art Baron, Sam Burtis, Earl McIntyre, Ku-Umba Frank Lacy, Clark Gayton, Robin Eubanks, Conrad Herwig, Akili Jamal Mshauri Haynes- trombone; Dave Taylor- bass trombone, tuba; Kenny Drew, Jr., John Hicks, David Kikoski- piano; John Benitez, Michael Formanek, Boris Kozlow, Andy McKee- bass; Adam Cruz, Marvin "Smitty" Smith, Victor Jones, Johnathan Blake, Gene Jackson- drums; Steve Berrios- percussion.

Title: The Essential Mingus Big Band | Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: Dreyfus Records

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