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Jazz at Lincoln Center Hosts Charles Mingus Centennial Celebration

Week-long series of events during April 19-26 pays tribute to legendary bassist, composer, and bandleader

Charles Mingus (Photo courtesy of Resonance Records)
Charles Mingus (photo: ©Christian Rose/Fastimage, courtesy of Resonance Records)

In honor of the 100th birthday of legendary bassist, composer, and bandleader Charles Mingus, Jazz at Lincoln Center (JALC) will present a Charles Mingus Centennial Celebration during April 19-26. The series of concerts and special events will feature the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (JLCO) with Wynton Marsalis, as well as the Mingus Big Band, Mingus Dynasty, and Mingus Orchestra, presented in association with the Charles Mingus Institute and Jazz Workshop, Inc. and overseen by Sue Mingus, the bassist’s widow and longtime champion of his music.

The celebration kicks off on April 19 with a performance at Dizzy’s by the Manhattan School of Music Jazz Orchestra with former Mingus sideman Jack Walrath as music director. Another school band will close the celebration; the April 26 show by the Yale Jazz Ensemble will feature special guests Wayne Escoffery, Frank Lacy, and Michael Philip Mossman, all three of whom are veterans of Mingus ensembles. Other performances at Dizzy’s include shows by the Mingus Big Band (Apr. 21), the Mingus Dynasty (Apr. 23), and the Mingus Orchestra (Apr. 24).

In addition, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis will perform special concerts on April 22 and 23 in JALC’s Rose Theater. JLCO trombonist Vincent Gardner will act as musical director, presenting his arrangements of Mingus compositions such as “Freedom” and “Don’t Be Afraid, The Clown’s Afraid Too.”

“Charles Mingus’s music represents some of the most sincere and emotionally raw music in the jazz canon,” Gardner said in the press release received by JazzTimes. “His music always sounds to me as if something significant happened in his life or in society, and instead of yelling out in joy or pain, he wrote a song about it. It’s extremely rewarding to present music that conveys pure feeling to both the musician and listener.”

Tickets for the Charles Mingus Centennial Celebration performances by the JLCO in Rose Theater are available at 2022.jazz.org/charles-mingus. Tickets for Dizzy’s Club performances are available at jazz.org/dizzys.