The Mingus Orchestra On JazzSet Get ready for ecstatic sounds, as the French horn, bass clarinet, bassoon, guitar and harp dig the deep, dark, blues-drenched, jubilant Mingus groove from St. Bart's Church in New York City.

JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater

The Mingus Orchestra On JazzSetWBGO

The Mingus Orchestra On JazzSet

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/146646744/169601843" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Correction: The audio of this segment mentions a February performance by the Mingus Jazz Orchestra. There will be no Mingus Jazz Orchestra concert this year. The audio and text of this segment also misidentified the dates of the 2013 Mingus High School Competition. The competition is Feb. 15-18.

Get ready for ecstatic sounds, as the French horn, bass clarinet, bassoon, guitar and harp — along with reeds and brass, hand claps and vocals, bass and drums — dig the deep, dark, blues-drenched, jubilant Charles Mingus groove. From St. Bartholomew's Church on Park Avenue in Manhattan, it's all here in one concert: "Better Get It in Your Soul: The Music of Charles Mingus." The spirit of Mingus fills a sacred space.

Mingus grew up studying the cello and contra bass, but orchestras did not hire black musicians in the 1940s. Mingus fought back against this injustice all his life, during which time he became one of the greatest jazz bassists in history. He composed more than 300 pieces, and 84 boxes of his materials reside in the Charles Mingus Collection in the Library of Congress. And Mingus never forgot his childhood love of the orchestra. In liner notes to his album Let My Children Hear Music, he wrote, "Let my children have music! Let them hear live music. Not noise."

Since his death, his widow Sue Mingus has launched the groups Mingus Dynasty, the Mingus Big Band, the Mingus Orchestra and now — with Manhattan School of Music — she co-produces the annual Mingus High School Competition and Festival. It takes place President's Day weekend in New York.

MSM associate dean Justin DiCioccio is her co-producer. As early as 1972, when he had only three published charts to choose from, DiCioccio began teaching Mingus to high-school students in New York. He says improvising on a Mingus piece is like standing on a soapbox: You have to be yourself. "Play who you are" was Mingus' mantra, Sue Mingus says. It's a tall and exhilarating opportunity for teen musicians.

Coleman Hughes, Julian Lee and Zoe Obadia of the Jazz House Kids Big Band in Montclair, N.J., and director Julius Tolentino were successful in the competition in 2011, and they're back in 2012.

"We really would like to win [again]," Hughes says, "but we know there's going to be lots of great groups there. We have to do what we do. The rest is left up to the judges. It's out of our hands."

The 2013 Mingus High School Competition and Festival will take place in New York from February 15-18.

This program originally ran Feb. 9, 2012.

Personnel
  • Frank Lacy, trombone
  • John Clark, French horn
  • Alex Sipiagin, trumpet
  • Scott Robinson, flute and alto sax
  • Wayne Escoffery, soprano and tenor sax
  • Douglas Yates, clarinet and bass clarinet
  • Michael Rabinowitz, bassoon
  • David Gilmore, guitar
  • Edmar Castaneda, harp
  • Boris Kozlov, bass
  • Donald Edwards, drums
Credits

Our recording of the Mingus Orchestra is co-produced with Let My Children Hear Music, Inc., with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. Surround Sound mix by Duke Markos.

[+] read more[-] less

More From Jazz

Bassist Dave Holland and tabla player Zakir Hussain perform as part of Crosscurrents at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City. Lawrence Sumulong/Jazz at Lincoln Center hide caption

toggle caption Lawrence Sumulong/Jazz at Lincoln Center

Crosscurrents: Converging Jazz And Indian Classical Music

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

Explore the influence of Indian music on the jazz and rock scenes of the '60s with tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain, prolific bassist Dave Holland and their international ensemble, Crosscurrents.

Harold Mabern Alan Nahigian/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Alan Nahigian/Courtesy of the artist

At The Helm: Harold Mabern, Stalwart Accompanist, At 82

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

Harold Mabern has been one of jazz's most consistent accompanists over the last 60 years. In this episode of Jazz Night in America, we explore some of that history with him.

At The Helm: Harold Mabern, Stalwart Accompanist, At 82

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/614517884/614520719" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Barbara Cook performs at the 2014 New York Festival of Song at Carnegie Hall on April 28, 2014 in New York City. Laura Cavanaugh/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Laura Cavanaugh/Getty Images

Barbara Cook On Piano Jazz

This week's Piano Jazz from 1998 remembers lyric soprano Barbara Cook, a Broadway star, staple of the New York cabaret scene and favorite of audiences around the world.

Barbara Cook On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/614380119/614428595" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

American jazz trumpeter Harry 'Sweets' Edison performs in 1991. David Redfern/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption David Redfern/Getty Images

Harry 'Sweets' Edison On Piano Jazz

On this episode of Piano Jazz from 1999, broadcast just months before Edison died, the legendary jazz trumpeter joins Marian McPartland for a few classics and an original.

Harry 'Sweets' Edison On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/612283249/612285662" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
George Kopp/Courtesy of the artist

Virginia Mayhew On Piano Jazz

Saxophonist, composer and bandleader Virginia Mayhew joins forces with Marian McPartland to perform "All the Things You Are" and "Body and Soul" on this 1998 episode of Piano Jazz.

Virginia Mayhew On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/610083723/610086310" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Joanne Brackeen and Jason Moran at NPR's Studio One in Washington, D.C. Eric Lee/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Eric Lee/NPR

Jazz Giants Take The Stage At The NEA Jazz Masters Listening Party

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

Jason Moran sat down with the NEA Jazz Masters to talk about their careers and listen to music that played important roles in their lives.

Jazz Giants Take The Stage At The NEA Jazz Masters Listening Party

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/608093895/608239849" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

This 1988 episode of Piano Jazz features Brazilian pianist, composer, and vocalist Eliane Elias. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Eliane Elias On Piano Jazz

Brazilian pianist, composer, and vocalist Eliane Elias is a renowned artist in her home country and in the American jazz scene. Hear her first Piano Jazz performance from 1988.

Eliane Elias On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/607421826/607450646" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Willie Pickens On Piano Jazz

Chicago jazz mainstay Willie Pickens died this past December at age 86. Revisit his performance with McPartland in this 1997 episode of Piano Jazz.

Willie Pickens On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/604342537/604343909" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Cleo Brown on the cover of Here Comes Cleo. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Cleo Brown On Piano Jazz

Cleo Brown makes a rare appearance to perform her greatest hit, "Pinetop's Boogie-Woogie," and to recall the style's heyday in the 1930s.

Cleo Brown On Piano Jazz

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/602133644/602133663" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Back To Top