2019 has marked 40 years since the death of Charles Mingus, famous jazz musician, great double bassist and jazz composer. He was posthumously awarded five special Grammys. On the eve of the date, the European Foundation for Support of Culture, together with Marrucino Teatro (Italy) and the ArtEnsemble association (Italy) and with support from Fondazione Immagine, held an evening in memory of the composer.
Charles Mingus was born in 1922 in Arizona, US. He grew up in California and, at the age of eight, sang in the church choir and listened to Duke Ellington on the radio. Mingus studied to play the trumpet, cello and double bass.
Mingus’s music, imbibed with the ardor and soul of hard bop, which borrowed much from African American gospel, sometimes adopted elements of free jazz and even classical music. Yet Mingus did not fit into traditional frameworks; he created his own music combining tradition with the unfathomable depths of jazz. Mingus preferred collective improvisation similar to the music of New Orleans jazz parades and paid special attention to what each member did for the band as a whole. When Mingus invited musicians, he assessed both their performance and their human qualities. He wanted unique music to be played by unique people.
The Charles Mingus Commemorative Evening was held on 17 March at the Marrucino Theatre (Chieti, Italy), showcasing famous jazz performers including Fabrizio Bosso, Italian trumpet player and winner of the Umbria International Jazz Festival (Perugia, Italy); the British virtuoso pianist Julian Oliver Mazzariello; and winners of the chamber music section of Philadelphia’s International Competition (US) and the Giulio Rospigliosi National Chamber Music Competition (Italy), the Quintessenza Brass quintet. Together, the musicians performed Mingus’s greatest hits and works by other contemporary jazz performers.
The theatre lobby offered audiences a photo exhibition commemorating Maestro Charles Mingus