CONTACT: WINSTON BARCLAY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0073; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: Dec. 29, 2000
Hancher presents Mingus Big Band Jan. 20, during MLK
Week at UI
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The Mingus Big Band, the living
legacy of influential bassist, composer, bandleader and civil rights activist
Charles Mingus, will perform a concert entitled "Blues and Politics"
during Martin Luther King Jr. Human Rights Week at University of Iowa, at
8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 20 in Hancher Auditorium.
The concert by the Mingus Big Band -- which a New
York Times article described as "the greatest repertory project in jazz
history" -- focuses on some of Mingus more political pieces, as
well as emphasizing the blues at the heart of his music. The tour concert
accompanies the release of "Blues & Politics" on the Dreyfuss
Both JazzTimes and Down Beat critics and readers have
voted the Mingus Big Band the "Best Big Band" for several years
running, and in June 1999 the New York Jazz Awards honored the band as both
the "Best Big Band" and the "Best Touring Band." JazzTimes
has gone so far as to proclaim the Mingus Big Band "the smokingest big
band on the planet."
Mingus (1922-1979) was one of the most important figures
in 20th century American music -- an importance that is increasingly recognized
as a new millennium begins. He was also an angry and outspoken advocate of
He began his career in the 1940s, playing with Louis
Armstrong and other jazz originators. Mingus helped create bebop, in collaboration
with Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Max Roach and Bud Powell,
and played with Duke Ellington, Art Tatum and Lionel Hampton before forming
his own boundary-challenging band.
The band he created to perform his own compositions
put him at the forefront of the avant garde, and his work -- totaling more
than 300 scores, some of which combined jazz and classical idioms -- is documented
on more than 100 albums.
After his death from Lou Gehrigs Disease, the
National Endowment for the Arts provided funds for a Mingus foundation to
catalogue all his works. In 1993 the Library of Congress acquired his scores,
recordings, photographs, correspondence and original manuscripts -- a first
for jazz -- and in 1995 the U.S. Postal Service issued a Charles Mingus stamp
as part of a series of jazz greats.
At the 1997 Grammy Awards ceremony Mingus was posthumously
awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Recording
Arts and Sciences.
His widow, Sue Mingus, has led the effort to preserve
and celebrate his work, including overseeing the Mingus Big Band for the past
Martin Luther King Jr. Human Rights Week, founded
in 1993, is coordinated by the UI Office of Student Life, and it is sponsored
by numerous UI departments, which organize events to
promote awareness of issues ranging from diversity to
social change. Hanchers observance will also feature a residency by
the Philadelphia-based dance company Philadanco, climaxing with a performance
on Friday, Jan. 19.
For additional information about Martin Luther King
Jr. Human Rights Week activities at the UI, contact the Office of Student
Life at 319-335-3059.
Clarion Hotel & Conference Center is the corporate
sponsor of the Mingus Big Band concert, through the University of Iowa
Tickets for the Jan. 20 performance are $28, $26 and $23.
UI students and senior citizens qualify for a 20-percent discount, with Zone
2 and 3 tickets available to UI students for $10. Tickets for audience members
17 and younger are half price.
Box office hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays and
11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays. From the local calling area, dial (319) 335-1160.
Long distance is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. Fax to (319) 353-2284. Orders may
be charged to VISA, MasterCard or American Express. UI students may charge
their purchases to their university bills, and UI faculty and staff may select
the option of payroll deduction. Information and brochures may be requested
by e-mail at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
People with special needs for access, seating and
auxiliary services should dial (319) 335-1158. This number will be answered
by box office personnel prepared to offer assistance with handicapped parking,
wheelchair access and seating, hearing augmentation and other services. The
line is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that
For UI arts information, visit this new address --
www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa -- on the World Wide Web. To receive UI arts news by
e-mail, contact <email@example.com>. Learn about the Mingus Big
Band at <http://mingusmingusmingus.com>.