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Straight No Chaser - A Jazz Show

Welcome to Straight No Chaser, the Award-winning Podcast hosted by Jeffrey Siegel

Jun 28, 2010

Jazz fans in Manhattan know that Monday Night means a trip to the Jazz Standard, where the Mingus Big Band, one of foremost ensembles playing the repertory of the legendary Charles Mingus, holds forth. Those not fortunate enough to catch the group now have a chance to experience them at their fiery best, with the release of this live album, recorded at their New Year’s Eve show in 2008.


The fourteen musicians who played that night show that the fifty year plus old Mingus oeuvre is still relevant, if not cutting edge. Well-known tunes such as “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat” and “Moanin’” have fresh sounding arrangements, with the former including trombonist Ku-Umba Frank Lacy’s vocals on the Joni Mitchell-penned lyrics.


Some of the finest soloists around appear with the Big Band, checking their egos at the door to make outstanding ensemble music. Of course, that doesn't mean that there aren't some shining moments. Veteran trumpeter Randy Brecker has a memorable solo on the rarely performed “New Now Know How”, and Jeff “Tain” Watts, for years the cornerstone of Wynton and Branford Marsalis’ bands, keeps the groove throughout. The ensemble brings down the house on the closing “Song With Orange”, a twelve minute tour de force featuring solos by Brecker and pianist David Kikoski. 

The performance was originally aired on NPR's "Toast of the Nation", so if you heard it and loved it, now you can own it.