Charles Mingus Centennial Arizona Tour
Mingus Dynasty Quintet
featuring special guest artist
Charles McPherson, alto saxophone
Walter White, trumpet
(standing in for Jack Walrath, who sent his regrets)
Craig Handy, tenor saxophone
Theo Hill, piano
Andy McKee, bass
Chris Beck, drums
Thursday, April 21, 2022
at 7:30 PM
Friday, April 22, 2022
(Charles Mingus’s 100th Birthday)
sets at 7:00 PM and 9:00 PM
Saturday, April 23, 2022
10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
The Mingus Dynasty Quintet featuring special guest artist Charles McPherson (who worked extensively with Mingus) honored the centennial year of legendary jazz bassist and composer Charles Mingus with a three-city tour of Southern Arizona.
The tour kicked off on Thursday, April 21, 2022 at The Nash Jazz Club in Phoenix, Arizona’s premiere jazz venue. The next evening, on Charles Mingus’s 100th birthday, the celebration continued at Arizona’s newest major jazz club, the Century Room at Hotel Congress in Tucson. The club’s name celebrates both the 100th year of Hotel Congress and Charles Mingus’s birth in Nogales, Arizona. On April 23, 2022, the tour moved on to participate in the annual Mingus festival held in Nogales, and to dedicate the new Mingus Memorial built at the former entrance to Camp Little, where Charles Mingus was born and his father served as a Buffalo Soldier.
The music and memory of Charles Mingus were passionately promoted in Arizona by the vision and hard work of the late Yvonne Ervin. In 1993, years before founding the Tucson Jazz Festival, Yvonne organized “Jazz on the Border: The Mingus Project,” which included youth education, a performance of Mingus’s Epitaph and the world premiere of a long-lost movement from that masterwork, and free concerts on both sides of the border (Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora). Jack Walrath, who was to be featured in the current tour, conducted the performances and appeared with other Mingus alumni at that event.
The Mingus Project inspired jazz lovers in Nogales to establish the Charles Mingus Hometown Music Festival. Upon returning to Arizona in 2011, Yvonne led the Santa Cruz Advocates for the Arts (SCAA) in expanding the festival and partnering with the city of Nogales to build the Mingus Memorial.
Over recent years, Yvonne brought both Mingus Dynasty and this tour’s special guest, Mingus alumnus Charles McPherson to Nogales to headline the festival in Nogales as well as to Tucson. The construction of the Mingus Memorial is now complete and was dedicated in Nogales on the final day of the tour after playing at The Nash Jazz Club in Phoenix, and at the Century Room in Tucson on Mingus’s 100th birthday. The tour’s lead sponsor is Alan Hershowitz, Yvonne Ervin’s widower.
The Charles Mingus Centennial Arizona tour was made possible by the generous support of:
David & Karen Francis
Ari Hershowitz & Family
Sheryl Ann McKinley
Mary Jo McMullen
Elaine & Rick Poleshuck
Peter & Dana Smith
The tour also gratefully acknowledges the invaluable assistance of:
Dan Atkinson, Western Jazz Presenters Network
Khris Dodge, Tucson Jazz Festival
Robin Goldenthal, The Nash
Richard and Shana Oseran, Hotel Congress
Chita Stevenson, Tucson Jazz Festival
Lynn Sundfor McPherson
Albert Sun, Jazz Workshop, Inc.
Ken Tittelbaugh, The Mingus Project (SCAA)
Sharon Urman, The Mingus Project (SCAA)
Arthur Vint, The Century Room
Sarah Williams, Jazz Workshop, Inc.
Mingus Memorial, under construction
In Memory of Yvonne Ervin
Side Wall with History and Dedication to Buffalo Solders
Mingus Dynasty with Charles McPherson
Mingus Dynasty and Charles McPherson teamed up in 2018 to present Mingus’s entire “Tijuana Moods” album live for the first time in San Diego, followed by Mingus Dynasty performances and educational events in Phoenix, La Jolla, Portland, and at the Tucson Jazz Festival. The Mingus Dynasty band for those events included this tour’s pianist, Theo Hill.
Mingus Dynasty Septet
Mingus Dynasty Septet
originally on the tour, replaced by
Mingus Dynasty was the first band Sue Mingus organized after her husband Charles Mingus’s death in 1979. Although big bands like the Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey bands had continued to perform after their leader passed on, a similar legacy never existed for smaller ensembles. Because Mingus always said he was first and foremost a composer, and because he left behind over 300 compositions that deserved to be played, a band carrying on his music became a natural, if unanticipated, mission.
For the sake of authenticity, the first Dynasty bands were expected to include only musicians who had actually performed with Mingus—except for the bass player of course. Today, more than forty years later, the rich legacy of Mingus music ignites the bandstand while new generations of musicians—many of them not even alive during the composer’s lifetime—add their individual voices and continue to interpret and build on his compositions.
Mingus Dynasty made two appearances (on their own, and backing up Lew Tabackin) at the 2018 Tucson Jazz Festival, and member Brandon Wright was featured at the 2017 Mingus Hometown Music Festival.
For more than 60 years, saxophonist, composer, and educator Charles McPherson has been one of the most expressive and highly regarded voices in jazz. His rich musical style, rooted in the blues and bebop, has influenced and inspired generations of musicians and listeners.
After moving from Detroit to New York City in 1959, McPherson began his association with Charles Mingus, which lasted for the next 12 years while he was also busy working with Barry Harris, Art Farmer, Albert “Tootie” Heath, and George Coleman, among others.
He has toured through the United States, Europe, Africa, South America, and Japan, and has performed and/or recorded with many other jazz greats such as Pepper Adams, Nat Adderley, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Randy Brecker, Jaki Byard, the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, Ron Carter, Paul Chambers, Alan Dawson, Kenny Dorham, Kenny Drew, Billy Eckstine, Tommy Flanagan, Lionel Hampton, Tom Harrell, Billy Higgins, Sam Jones, Clifford Jordan, Duke Jordan, Brian Lynch, Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Pat Martino, Cecil McBee, Jay McShann, Mulgrew Miller, James Moody, Dannie Richmond, Red Rodney, Cedar Walton, Phil Woods, and Snooky Young. His latest recording, Jazz Dance Suites, was named #1 New Release by the Jazz Times 2020 Reader’s Poll.
Charles McPherson headlined the 2013 Charles Mingus Hometown Music Festival in Nogales and was featured the next day at a Mingus concert in Tucson, and this year he brought his Quintet to The Nash Jazz Club in Phoenix for its 9th Anniversary Celebration.