Sunday, June 29, 2008

Mingus Big Band to headline jazz fest - Silver Spring Penguin

By Jennifer Deseo on June 26, 2008

Jazz bassist Charles Mingus may have checked out of this existence in 1979, but his big band is on the books to perform at this year’s Silver Spring Jazz Festival.

The 14-piece cover band will take the stage on Saturday, Sep 13, regional director Gary Stith announced last Thursday at a meeting of the urban-district advisory committee. Concert promoter Live Nation, which will operate Silver Spring’s future Fillmore venue, helped sign the act, Stith added.

Managed by Mingus’s widow, the big band had a regular gig at New York’s Fez Under Time Cafe through the 1990s, then moved to the Iridium Jazz Club in 2004. The band tours throughout the country, and has six Grammy nominations under its belt.

Mingus himself was a front runner in avant-garde jazz, along with biggies like trumpeter Miles Davis and sax master Charlie Parker. He worked the circuit until 1977, when he was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease).

Also playing this year’s gig are local pianist Marcus Johnson, and New York sax man Yaron Elyashiv and his quartet.

Because of planned construction at downtown’s Turf, the one-day concert will be held on the Lee parking lot on Georgia Avenue.

Lead photo of the Mingus Big Band courtesy of Jimmy Katz/Jazz Workshop Inc.

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