Hear Mike and the Mingus Orchestra
at Tanglewood- Sunday, Sept. 4, 2011
Mike and Mingus
My connection to Charles Mingus’s music
As a teenager I was drawn to the sound of Charles Mingus - a creative bass player, composer and band leader. I will never forget bringing tapes of his performance with the great woodwind player Eric Dolphy on a family cross-country trip in the
After coming to NYC in the mid eighties I was invited to perform a 1 1/2 hour symphonic jazz opus that Mingus wrote for a 31 piece group called Epitaph. He had attempted to have it performed at Town Hall in the 60’s but it was a fiasco. This recreation was conducted by Gunther Schuller and included high profile jazz musicians and many Mingus alumni. This 1989 performance and subsequent Columbia Record recording in 1989 won international praise.
My involvement with his music continued when Sue Mingus, Charles’ widow, formed an 11 piece Mingus Orchestra which featured instruments from the orchestra such as French horn, Bass Clarinet and Bassoon. Over the past ten years we have recorded, toured around the world and play regularly in NYC.
Sy Johnson, Boris Koslov, Michael Mossman and Gunther Schuller have made arrangements specifically for this ensemble.The inclusion of classical instruments playing Charles Mingus’s melodies honor his goal to incorporate diverse tonal colors into his music.
Gunther Schuller and Mike Rabinowitz