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Mingus Big Band at Iridium

- Jazz and Cabaret Corner

Mingus Big Band

Wayne Escoffery on Tenor Sax
David Lee Jones on Alto Sax
Jaleel Shaw on Alto Sax
Abraham Burton on Tenor Sax
Lauren Sevian on Baritone Sax
Randy Brecker on Trumpet
Kenny Rampton on Trumpet
Earl Gardner on Trumpet
Ku-umba Frank Lacy on Trombone
Conrad Herwig on Trombone
Earl McIntyre on Bass Trombone
George Colligan on Piano
Boris Kozlov on Bass
Donald Edwards on Drums
Manager: Sue Mingus

Iridium Jazz Club
Kevin Williams, Manager
1650 Broadway, Corner of 51st St, NYC

Media Contact: Jim Eigo, Jazz Promo Services

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
September 6, 2005

(See a Review of the new Mingus Big Band I Am Three CD).
“Charles Mingus was a virtuoso bass player, accomplished pianist, bandleader and composer. Born on a military base in Nogales, Arizona in 1922 and raised in Watts, California, his earliest musical influences came from the church-- choir and group singing-- and from ‘hearing Duke Ellington over the radio when [he] was eight years old’….Eventually he settled in New York where he played and recorded with the leading musicians of the 1950's-- Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Bud Powell, Art Tatum and Duke Ellington himself…He toured extensively throughout Europe, Japan, Canada, South America and the United States until the end of 1977 when he was diagnosed as having a rare nerve disease.” (Quoted from Mingus Website Notes).

The Charles Mingus legacy lives on, through the dedicated management of his widow, Sue Mingus, and the exemplary Mingus Big Band, composed of numerous regular musicians and some special guests, who shift each performance at Iridium and on tour, to create a musically mesmerizing evening. At tonight’s second set, fourteen musicians included one lone woman, Lauren Sevian, on baritone sax.

As it happened, the blazing brass of saxophone and trumpet led this set, with wild sensational sharpness in abstract, echoing themes. Flashes of swing mixed with dissonant, driven dynamics, as bass and piano soon extended and exercised the theme. The piece ended with a burning bass solo and muted horns, before a full band finale. Lauren Sevian and Randy Brecker began the second piece with mournful, soulful refrains, as the deep baritone sax played the slower theme and imbued it with energy and even a danceable melody.

Don’t Let It Happen Here included Frank Lacy’s dramatic, spoken words about the right of freedom and the yoke of oppression. (Tonight was just in the midst of the Hurricane Katrina aftermath). With Abraham Burton on sax, the volume built around words of community and religion. Kenny Rampton had a solo trumpet riff, followed by blasts of a full compliment of trombones and horns. Another piece included audience rhythmic clapping and a marching motif. Edgy, eerie brass tremolos accented the surreal effect.

Toward the end of the set, George Colligan, on piano, brought a classical approach, mixed with Donald Edwards’ percussive swing and Boris Kozlov’s buoyant bass. Trombones blared, and suddenly a theme of Shortnin’ Bread appeared. The spoken vocals of African diamond mines, shortnin’ bread, freedom schools, and a pot pourri of politically infused lyrics, merged into melodic madness and a double bass bow solo. Kudos to Sue Mingus and the Mingus Big Band. Check Iridium Jazz Club’s Website for the detailed schedule of the Mingus Big Band, appearing most Tuesdays.

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at