Friday, December 11
Chapel Performance Space at Good Shepherd Center ● 4649 Sunnyside Ave. N, 4th floor (map), Seattle ● 7 p.m. ● $5-15 donation ● all ages
(note early start time)
Charles Mingus was one of the most important figures in twentieth century American music. He was a virtuoso bass player, accomplished pianist, bandleader, author, poet, civil rights activist, and a prolific composer. His number of jazz compositions is second only to those of Duke Ellington. He recorded over 100 albums and wrote more than 300 scores. His compositions retained the hot and soulful feel of hard bop and drew heavily from black gospel music and blues while sometimes drawing on elements of free jazz and classical music. Yet Mingus avoided categorization, forging his own brand of music that fused tradition with unique and unexplored realms of jazz.
During his lifetime, Charles Mingus was widely recognized in jazz circles as one of music’s most talented contributors. It was only after his death that his brilliance as an indomitable creative force began to be fully realized. Mingus’s legacy is enormous, but this evening’s program focuses specifically on Mingus’s impact as a composer. Mingus’s compositions pioneered new and extended forms in jazz: changes of tempo and meter, open vamps, blurred lines between composition and improvisation, advanced harmonic explorations, aggressive sounds, and idiosyncratic voicings. These innovations have fueled the compositional efforts of every generation of musicians since, and surely many (if not all) generations to come.
Guitarists and longtime Mingus devotees Rik Wright and Jason Goessl have organized a night of music to pay tribute to the man and his music. The concert will showcase groups led by Wright, Goessl, James DeJoie, Simon Henneman, Jim Knodle, and Kenneth Mandell. The participants have selected and arranged a dozen different Mingus compositions, featuring performances by Robby Beasley, Don Berman, Dave Bush, Greg Campbell, Jose Carillo, Alicia DeJoie, Geoff Harper, Doug Lilla, Mikel Rollins, Pete Turner, and Dick Valentine. The night will end with a group improvisation of “Canon,” a quintessential Mingus theme in which, as the title suggests, the melody can be superimposed upon itself. A fitting tribute to a compositional legend.