CSU Jazz Ensembles Honor one of The Greats

Charles Mingus PosterWritten by Brandon Adams

Jazz is a sacred art, one that began in the early 20th century, and is constantly being refined and transformed. Throughout history, many jazz composers have left their mark – from Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie to Count Basie and Herbie Hancock – putting a personal touch on a collaborative masterpiece. One such great composer was jazz double bassist and bandleader Charles Mingus. Mingus took some of the musical concepts of Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington, and others, and combined it with his ear for Latin and Gospel to create a very unique take on jazz. Many of his works have been transformed for big band groups, which is what the CSU Jazz Ensembles will capitalize on in their upcoming concert.

On Oct. 5, the Colorado State University Jazz Ensembles will have their first gig of the fall semester, performing at 7:30 p.m. in the Griffin Concert Hall, and playing works by Charles Mingus.

Jazz Director Peter Sommer spoke a little about how Mingus’ music will impact his students, and the takeaways he expects. “Our jazz classics concerts are both an opportunity for our jazz students to get hands-on experience with music by the great jazz composers and arrangers, as well as gain a deeper historical insight into jazz and American music,” Sommer said. “In Mingus' case, they have the opportunity to experience his synthesis of styles and approaches to improvisation.”

Some of the pieces the ensembles will perform are “Haitian Fight Song” and “Children’s Hour of Dream,” both demonstrating how Mingus added his unique flair to the genre. This will be an energetic and fun concert that audiences will not want to miss. As Peter Sommer said, “If Ellington is about elegance, Mingus is about fire!”

Ticket Information
Continuing this fall, tickets are *no charge for CSU students, $1 for youth (under 18), and $12 for the public. Tickets are available at the University Center for the Arts (UCA) ticket office in the UCA lobby Monday through Friday, 3:30-5:30 p.m. and 60 minutes prior to performances, by phone at (970) 491-ARTS (2787), or online at www.CSUArtsTickets.com. Youth tickets must be purchased in person at the Ticket Office. All tickets are subject to a $1 ticket fee for both online and at-the-door purchases. Advance ticket purchase is highly recommended to avoid lines and further at-the-door fees.