Jazz at Lincoln Center Celebrates Charles Mingus at 100!




Mingus Dynasty. Courtesy of Jazz Workshop, Inc.

In honor of bassist and composer Charles Mingus, whose 100th birthday would have been on April 22, 2022, Jazz at Lincoln Center will present a Charles Mingus Centennial Celebration to commemorate his legacy as a trailblazing composer, performer, and bandleader, and as a staunch advocate for social justice and education. The celebration, which will take place from April 19–26, will explore the many styles he experimented with, from swinging hard bop to Afro-Latin grooves, blues, and classical structures. The week-long celebration will trace the jazz luminary’s impact on generations of musicians with a series of performances spanning two stages and six ensembles, including the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and appearances by the namesake bands established by Sue Mingus following her husband’s death to carry on his musical legacy: the Mingus Big Band, Mingus Dynasty, and Mingus Orchestra. These performances are presented in association with the Charles Mingus Institute and Jazz Workshop, Inc.

Charles Mingus. Courtesy of Jazz Workshop, Inc.

The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis will honor the musical giant with concerts on April 22 and23 at 8:00 p.m. in Rose Theater. With musical direction by JLCO trombonist Vincent Gardner, the performances will feature a collection of the wide-ranging and innovative works-from “Freedom” to “Don’t Be Afraid, The Clown’s Afraid Too”-that made Mingus one of the 20th century’s most beloved and influential composers of any genre.

Gardner said of the program, “Charles Mingus’s music represents some of the most sincere and emotionally raw music in the jazz canon. His music always sounds to me as if something significant happened in his life or in society, and instead of yelling out in joy or pain, he wrote a song about it. It’s extremely rewarding to present music that conveys pure feeling to both the musician and listener.”


Charles Mingus. Photo by Hans Kumpf, copyright Jazz Workshop, Inc. (2.7M)

The celebrations continue at Dizzy’s Club, with highlights including the Grammy Award-winning Mingus Big Band on April 21, followed by the Mingus Dynasty on April 23 and the Mingus Orchestra on April 24. The Mingus legacy bands are the leading ensembles specializing in the composer’s vast repertoire, with an all-star lineup that originally featured many of Mingus’s own sidemen, including Randy Brecker, John Handy, Jimmy Knepper, and others. Decades later, his rich musical influence runs deep among a new generation of talents. Rounding out the program with up-and-coming young artists, theManhattan School of Music Jazz Orchestra kicks off the celebration on April 19, and the Yale Jazz Ensemble concludes the festivities on April 26, commemorating the milestone anniversary with guest appearances by three leading contemporary Mingus interpreters: saxophonist Wayne Escoffery and trombonist Frank Lacy, both longtime members of the Mingus Big Band, and trumpeter Michael Philip Mossman, who has toured and recorded extensively with the Mingus Orchestra.

The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. Photo Credit: Lawrence Sumulong

Tickets for the Charles Mingus Centennial Celebration performances in Rose Theater are available at2022.jazz.org/charles-mingus.

Tickets for Dizzy’s Club performances are available at jazz.org/dizzys.

Frederick P. Rose Hall, the home of Jazz at Lincoln Center, is located at Broadway at 60th Street in New York, New York.

Performances in Rose Theater:

Charles Mingus Centennial Celebration
April 22-23, 2022 | 8:00 p.m.
One of the most important figures in jazz, Charles Mingus was a virtuoso bass player, accomplished pianist, bandleader, and genius composer. He performed with Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, and more, and his singular compositional voice led many to consider him as the heir apparent to Duke Ellington. A fierce advocate for musicians’ rights and creative efforts, Mingus remains, nearly half a century after his passing, an inspiration for artists seeking to blaze their own trails.

The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis gives a centenary performance in honor of the great Charles Mingus with music direction by Vincent Gardner. With a blend of swinging hard bop, Afro-Latin grooves, and deeply felt blues that characterized Mingus’s pen, this concert celebrates why Mingus’s music remains some of the most beloved of all time.

Ticket prices for Rose Theater are $40 and up dependent upon seating section.


Manhattan School of Music Jazz Orchestra with Musical Director Jack Walrath
Charles Mingus Centennial Celebration
April 19, 2022 | 7:30 p.m. & 9:30 p.m.
Kicking off Jazz at Lincoln Center’s multi-night Charles Mingus Centennial Celebration, Manhattan School of Music’s (MSM) talented musicians perform the music of Charles Mingus in honor of his centennial. MSM’s programs of study for jazz arts majors are designed to develop skilled performers, composers, arrangers, and jazz educators in preparation for careers in jazz music. Systematic and rigorous conservatory training, combined with a myriad of performance and networking opportunities in New York City, makes this program one of the richest of its kind for emerging jazz musicians.
Tuesday: $35
Students: $20

Mingus Big Band
Charles Mingus Centennial Celebration
April 21-22, 2022 | 7:30 p.m. & 9:30 p.m.
Jazz at Lincoln Center’s multi-night Charles Mingus Centennial Celebration continues as the Grammy-winning Mingus Big Band performs the music of its namesake, composer/bassist Charles Mingus, as only they can. The Mingus Big Band first came together in 1991 and can regularly be seen in venues around New York City and the world, with eleven recordings to its credit. Every night of the Mingus Celebration will be a party as JALC presents four rollicking days of programming in association with the Charles Mingus Institute and Jazz Workshop, Inc.
Thursday: $45
Friday: $45
Students: $25

Mingus Dynasty
Charles Mingus Centennial Celebration
April 23, 2022 | 7:30 p.m. & 9:30 p.m.
The Mingus Dynasty, a seven-piece all-star ensemble, was the first band Charles Mingus’s wife, Sue Mingus, organized after his death in 1979-collaborating with Mingus’s own sidemen to honor the life and work of the bassist and composer. The first Dynasty bands were expected to include only musicians who had actually performed with Mingus. Four decades later, the rich legacy of his music ignites the bandstand with a new generation of musicians who add their individual voices to celebrate and explore the hundreds of compositions by Charles Mingus.
Saturday: $45
Students: $25

Mingus Orchestra
Charles Mingus Centennial Celebration
April 24, 2022 | 5:00 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.
Assembled in 1999 by Sue Mingus, the 10-piece Mingus Orchestra plays with the intensity of Mingus Big Band, with a focus on composition and exploration of Mingus’s more unusually orchestrated works. Its distinctive sound and textures emerge from an expanded repertory and more exotic instrumentation including bassoon, bass clarinet, French horn, and guitar-instruments not heard in the Big Band, and mostly non-traditional to jazz and modern improvisational music. The other six instruments are chaired by musicians that also perform in Mingus Big Band, and include drums, bass, trombone, trumpet, alto and tenor saxophone, with additional doublings on flute, soprano, and clarinet.
Sunday: $35
Students: $25

The Yale Jazz Ensemble under direction of Wayne Escoffery with special guests Michael Philip Mossman and “Ku-Umba” Frank Lacy
Charles Mingus Centennial Celebration
April 26, 2022 | 7:30 p.m. & 9:30 p.m.
The Yale Jazz Ensemble (YJE) is a 17-piece big band that performs a wide variety of music, from Yale’s Benny Goodman archive to the newest and most progressive jazz compositions. The ensemble has performed extensively throughout the U.S. and internationally, and tonight they make their anticipated return to Dizzy’s Club. This evening’s program, celebrating the legendary bassist and composer Charles Mingus, will feature three modern giants of jazz: saxophonist Wayne Escoffery, trombonist Frank Lacy, and trumpeter Michael Philip Mossman, adding to the list of elite jazz musicians with whom this impressive student ensemble has played.
Tuesday: $40
Students: $25

Check Jazz at Lincoln Center for important health and safety guidelines and ticket information for Rose Theater and Dizzy’s Club.