Jazz man Charles Mingus was born in Nogales, Arizona, which is close enough to Tucson that we often claim him as our own.
Like this weekend, when University of Arizona Fred Fox School of Music composing professor Daniel Asia spotlights Mingus’s jazz compositions as part of his 12th annual Music + Festival.
The UA Studio Jazz Ensemble, under the baton of Angelo Versace, will perform a concert of Mingus’s works on Saturday, Oct. 12, at Crowder Hall on the UA campus.
It is one of four concerts by UA student and faculty musicians that celebrate Mingus, Edgar Varése and Aaron Jay Kernis— three very distinctive composers.
“I like to have composers that are somewhat antithetical to each other,” said Asia, who curates the concerts and related symposiums held at the Fred Fox School, 1017 N. Olive Road, off North Park Avenue and East Speedway. “Verése has a lot of percussion. He’s loud and in your face. Frank Zappa loved this guy.”
Asia said Kernis was not nearly as loud as Verése, the mid-19th century French born American composer. But Kernis, the Grammy and Pulitzer Prize winning composer and friend of Asia, can wring some aggression out of his otherwise lovely music, Asia said.
“Then you’ve got Mingus, who’s in the jazz realm,” Asia said, noting that Mingus is like one of our own given his ties to Southern Arizona.
Mingus, a bandleader, pianist and composer for more than three decades, is regarded as one of the greatest jazz composers and jazz musicians in history.
He was born in Nogales but raised in Los Angeles. That, of course, has never stopped us from claiming his as one of our own.
The 2019 Music + Festival includes a symposium on Saturday looking at the music of Varèse, Kernis and Mingus. Composer Kernis of New York City joins Jay Rosenblatt and Aaron Mobley for the free panel discussion.