Photo by Boston Photographer Erik Jacobs for NPR.
Tune in to JazzSet Sunday, November 20, at 6pm and/or Wednesday, November 23, at 6:30, for the Mingus Big Band (saxophones above) and Miguel Zenon at Newport. What a match! Emotional, colorful, and Miguel is rhythmically revolutionizing music from the Puerto Rican songbook. Here is a 30-second preview, one of my favorite JazzSet promos ever.
The show is available on demand any time this week, here.
Listen for the Mingus Orchestra .. Sunday, February 12, at 6pm and Wednesday, February 15, at 6:30 .. on WBGO Jazz 88.3/wbgo.org and at your convenience any time this week at wbgo.org/jazzset.
Last February at St. Bartholomew's Church in Manhattan, blues, gospel shouts, and fight songs filled this sacred space. Wait til you hear bassoonist Michael Rabinowitz wailing on "Noddin Ya Head Blues," John Clark's French horn on "Haitian Fight Song," Frank Lacy reciting from the Book of Ecclesiastes on "Ecclusiastics," Boris Kozlov bowing his bass on "Meditations for Moses." All composed by the great Charles Mingus (1922-79).
Above, Gunther Schuller conducts the Orchestra in "Noon Night" and "Taurus in the Arena of Life," two lyric tone poems. "I fought my whole life to bring composition and improvisation together on an equal level," Schuller says in an interview in allaboutjazz.com. "That's what Third Stream [music] is about and in many cases that has happened. . . . If there ever was a Third Steam composer, his name was Charlie Mingus."
On President's Day weekend at Jazz Standard all weekend and on Sunday, up at Manhattan School of Music, you can hear more Mingus. High school students compete to play his demanding music with accuracy and passion. During this JazzSet, we'll hear more about that from co-producers Sue Mingus of Let My Children Hear Music, Inc., and Justin DiCioccio of MSM, and Jazz House Kids in Montclair, NJ -- winners last year and finalists in 2012. There's more about the fourth annual Mingus Competition here.
Let My Children Hear Music, Inc., and JazzSet thank the National Endowment for the Arts.
Last week was book-ended by exhilarating concerts. On Sunday at Manhattan School of Music, I witnessed the first-ever Charles Mingus High School Jazz Band Competition (Northeast). The first contender, from Gates Chili HS in Rochester, was BIG (with girls too) - as wide as a subway car is long – and FIRED UP, and the intensity continued through five potential champions, playing for keeps. Rochester’s Eastman Youth Jazz Orch won. Mingus Dynasty played at the end. Helen Sung on piano! On Friday, IN MY MIND - a multi-media Thelonious Monk at Town Hall concert - was signed sealed & delivered by Jason Moran & his 8-piece Big Bandwagon. Nasheet Waits on drums! Above the stage, images of the Flower District (the neighborhood for the jazz loft scene circa 1960) were superimposed with words, in a closed-caption sort of way but beautifully designed. It was moving to experience music, visuals and typography together. Were others there? Please comment!
Face it. You gotta be bold when you're a piano player, your last name is Goldberg, and you're playing in Toronto. More specifically, if you're Aaron Goldberg, and you're playing across the street from the CBC's Glenn Gould Studio, named after Toronto's famous son who OWNS Bach's Goldberg Variations. But I'm getting off topic.
The Aaron Goldberg Trio, with bassist Rueben Rogers and drummer Eric Harland, played some bold music. After opening with "Taurus" from the Sunnyside trio release, Worlds, Aaron called the quarterback option - his composition, "The Sound of Snow." It's from, of all things, the CD that accompanies the Baby Loves Jazz board book series. Specifically, from Mingus Mouse Christmas Time.
Eric Harland left his house at 6am. His flight from New York to Toronto was cancelled. Then he went to Newark. Then his flight was delayed. And delayed. So, He didn't get to Toronto until 6:30pm. The hit was 7pm at the Bassett Theater. Glad he made it thru customs!
Check out Eric's mini-clinic on "Shed," a song dedicated to Joshua "Shedroff" Redman.
And the last one was a burner.
More on the way. - Josh