"Jazz & The Beats." Mingus Big Band & Readings From On The Road

"JAZZ & THE BEATS":
The Charles Mingus-Jack Kerouac Dual Centennial Celebration:
THE MINGUS BIG BAND
& READINGS FROM ON THE ROAD

The year is 1922. Two seminal mid-20th Century voices - CHARLES MINGUS [4/22/22], the other JACK KEROUAC [3/12/22] - entered the world just 42 days apart. Each greatly influenced not only their respective musical and literary peers and colleagues, but they continued to do ss for generations to come right up to the present. They likely influenced each other; their universes running parallel, intersecting and overlapping, each acutely aware of the other. Did they ever meet, cross paths or befriend each other? Perhaps yes on all three counts; perhaps not; perhaps the truth lies somewhere in between. 
   Writing in the European Journal of American Studies, critic James J. Donohue’s article "Tonal Poetry, Bop Aesthetics, and Jack Kerouac’s Visions of Gerard," notes the following: "Jack Kerouac composed his novel Visions of Gerard in 1956 (released in 1963), the same year Charles Mingus released his classic album Pithecanthropus Erectus... Reading Kerouac’s novel in terms of Mingus’ methods of composition as recorded on that album, we can more clearly hear the influence of jazz on Kerouac’s prose..."
   But, enough of intellectualization. The point of OUR “exercise” here - that is to say this event - is to enjoin and enjoy these two giants’ impact upon all of US as part of "Jazz Appreciation Month," and deliver with great assistance from those on stage a Centennial Celebration of both Mingus & Kerouac.
   The "main event" of this heavyweight excursion centers on the MINGUS BIG BAND - a 14-piece jubilant, raucous, engaging and entertaining ensemble whose rotating cast arrives comprised of some of today's best technical, compositional and innovative musicians and bandleaders. They are listed here.

   Collectively, they are as close to mastering and capturing the complexities, subtleties, nuances and joy - all traits of Mingus' music - and delivering his compositions in such authentic, fanciful and powerful fashion that it regularly mesmerizes and enchants an audience. This is no tribute band; every night - as Mingus' publishing company indicates - this collective is running a Jazz Workshop. The Mingus Big Band’s genesis arrived not long after Mingus' 1979 death from ALS ("Lou Gehrig's Disease"). The different members of this ensemble have turned their endeavor into a mission, into a quest to deliver consequential music in a consequential way that, by the way, they have now done for 30 years and continue to do night after night.
   Under the direction of Sue Mingus, Mingus' wife, the long-running ensemble performs weekly in New York City when not tour, doing so at the Time Café, a Greenwich Village Bistro from 1991 to 2004, then elsewhere for four years, until finding its next permanent spot from 2008 until COVID hit at the Jazz Standard. "Mingus Mondays" are a New York musical institution. They've won GRAMMYs® and other awards along the way; they've headlined festivals - as they will globally during this Centennial Year - on every continent. The Mingus Big Band is tantamount to being on a never-ending musical odyssey. On this night, the group stations itself at the Jazz Series' door, including us in this year-long celebration of one of the most significant 20th Century American composers. As it turns out, this is only the group's second Jazz Series appearance, the first in more than 20 years - which means it should not be missed.
   KEROUAC, just like Mingus, looms as a larger-than-life, nearly mythical character - only he was quite real. Without Kerouac and his ilk such as Allan Ginsburg, Neal Cassidy, Gregory Corso among others, there just might not have been a Ken Kesey or a psychedelic movement launched by the Bay. Perhaps this is an exaggeration. Still, there’s no denying Kerouac continues to represent The Beat Generation's Heartbeat. The 1957 release of ON THE ROAD, his non-stop typescript, became athematic, the symbolic and perhaps real apex of Beat literature.
  Given the title's importance; given the interrelationship between jazz and the beats in general and, more specifically, between Mingus and Kerouac, it seemed far too organically appropriate not to call upon a cache of people to begin this evening's proceedings reading select pa

Audio and Video

"Moanin'"

Thursday, Apr. 28, 2022

"Jazz in the District"

Blue Note

Doors: 6 | Start: 7

Mingus Big Band + Readings From On The Road

Steve Slagle: Alto Saxophone
Sarah Hanrahan: Alto Saxophone
Abraham Burton: Tenor Saxophone
Scott Robinson: Tenor Saxophone
Lauren Sevian: Baritone Saxophone
Alex Sipiagin: Trumpet
Alexander Pope Norris: trumpet
Philip Harper: Trumpet
Conrad Herwig: Trombone
Robin Eubanks: Trombone
Earl McIntyre: Bass Trombone
David Kikoski: Piano
Boris Kozlov: Bass
Donald Edwards: Drums

"The Mingus Big Band is a wonder and an anomaly...the Mingus Band has taken a musical legacy and transformed it into a creative force that generates a contemporary originality and vitality all its own. They are an important part of the current jazz scene and a constant reminder that jazz—big band jazz, at that—is not merely entertainment but a powerful art form and means of expression." - All About Jazz


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“The hippest big band in the universe - robust, earthy, sanctified.” - Time Out

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