The music of Charles Mingus is always recognizable, and invites those who play it, to do so with their own, unique senses of humour, musical interpretations, as well as their hearts and souls ..just as Dave Young has done with his new CD, Mainly Mingus. Dave Young’s fresh and innovative arrangements feature not only the compositions themselves, but the brilliant musicianship of the musicians. Highlights of Mainly Mingus include some obscure, and some familiar Charles Mingus compositions, "Oscar Pettiford"; "Wham Bam Thank You Ma’am"; "Good-bye Pork Pie Hat"; "Nostalgia in Times Square"; "Self-Portrait in Three Colors"; "All The Things You’d Be Right Now" and the whimsically titled, "If Sigmund Freud’s Wife Was Your Mother". Two of Dave Young’s own compositions appear on Mainly Mingus, "Cherokee Revisited" and "Bass Clef". The two tunes are clearly a tribute to the virtuosity and impact of Charles Mingus, and fit perfectly with the rest of the Charles Mingus programme.
About Charles Mingus ..
The late bassist, pianist and composer, Charles Mingus, left us many tangible gifts that stemmed from his profound, raw and visceral musical genius. His composing style was truly unique as was his point of view. He possessed a genius I.Q., but battled the demons of profound mental illness throughout his lifetime experiencing numerous hospitalizations. Born on an Army base in Arizona and raised in hardscrabble Watts (Southwest Los Angeles), he endured racism, brutal beatings from his stepfather, and a myriad of tragedies, both personal and professional. During Charles Mingus’ lifetime, he worked and recorded with a number of outstanding jazz artists in a variety of ensembles, including Louis Armstrong, Lionel Hampton, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Danny Richmond, Jackie Bayard, Booker Ervin, Ted Curson, Charles McPherson, John Handy and the eminent jazz composer, band-leader and pianist, Toshiko Akiyoshi. Charles Mingus was a gifted pianist, as well as composer and bassist. He recorded over 100 albums, and composed over 300 scores for film, television and dance performances. In 1977, Mingus was diagnosed with the rare and debilitating ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). Although he was confined to a wheel chair and could no longer compose on an instrument, he continued to create by singing into a tape recorder. Following his death on January 5, 1979, Charles Mingus’ widow, Sue Graham Mingus, has maintained and perpetuated his work throughout the world with several performing groups "The Mingus Dynasty", The Mingus Big Band, and the new 11-piece Mingus Jazz Orchestra. For the past twelve years, Thursday nights at "The Fez" in New York City’s West Village were always "Mingus Big Band" nights. The Big Band and other Mingus ensembles and projects have traveled throughout the world, and influenced two generations of jazz musicians, such as former band-members Joe Lovano and Randy Brecker.
Charles Mingus was only 56 years old when he passed away in Mexico, on January 5, 1979. He was surrounded by the many friends and family members who adored him. Although he had been deeply affected by racism throughout his life, in a last blast of irony, it was a white, Canadian, female pop artist with whom he did his last musical collaboration the Grammy award-winning Joni Mitchell CD, Mingus. Despite the often tragic circumstances of his life, the Charles Mingus legacy is full of humour and playfulness, just as his melodic lines are filled with contrapuntal nuances and unexpected rhythmic delights.
About Dave Young ..
There is no doubt that Winnipeg born bassist and composer Dave Young possesses artistic soul, and musical skill in abundance. His exceptional career has made him a much sought-after jazz bassist who regularly performs internationally with an array of jazz (and classical) luminaries, as well as with his own performing units. In recognition of his remarkable career in jazz, Dave Young was honoured at "The 2003 National Jazz Awards" as "Jazz Bassist of the Year". The award was richly deserved, and is a tribute to Dave’s chops, highly developed musical sensibility, versatility and life-long commitment to Jazz and Jazz Education.
Dave first began studying the guitar and violin at age ten, but a turn of events at his first gig (a university dance band) compelled him to pick up the bass. Equally comfortable with symphonic work and acoustic jazz, Dave is a multiple threat. As classical artist, he was the principal Double Bassist for a number of years with the Edmonton and Winnipeg Symphonies as well as with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra. As a jazz artist, he is a chameleon-like bassist, who often shines brightest in collaborative efforts with other musicians. Because of his technical skill (no doubt a direct result of his extensive classical disciplines) Dave regularly brings jazz bass playing to a new level. Few bassists (jazz or otherwise) are able to dig in, swing hard and still render a lyrical and beautiful arco solo.
Dave Young’s elegant, moving and symbiotic performances with the late guitarist Lenny Breau are legendary. Dave worked with Lenny Breau’s Quartet from 1961-66. Recently a "live" CD has been made available by Randy Bachman’s "Guitar Archives" label. The CD is a recording of a 1983 performance of the duo at the former Toronto jazz hot spot, "Bourbon Street" (Also the title of the CD).
The list of artists with whom Dave Young has shared the stage and/or recording studio, is a veritable "Who’s Who" of international jazz including the venerable jazz giant Oscar Peterson (with whom Dave has had a twenty-five year professional relationship), Clark Terry, Harry "Sweets" Edison, Zoot Simms, Joe Williams, Oliver Jones, Rob McConnell, Kenny Burrell, Cedar Walton, Hank Jones, Nat Adderly, Peter Appleyard, Gary Burton, Barney Kessel, Ed Bickert, Ranee Lee, Marcus Belgrave, Don Thompson, Kenny Burrell and James Moody.
In recent years, Dave Young has released several award winning recording projects as leader on the Justin Time label: Fables and Dreams, with co-leader and tenorist Phil Dwyer (which won a 1993 Juno Award for "Best Mainstream Jazz Recording"), and in 1995 Two By Two - Volume 1, followed by Two By Two - Volume 2 in 1996. Both duo projects garnered rave reviews from the media, and fulfilled Dave’s artistic vision. The CDs featured performances with piano jazz greats Oscar Peterson, Cedar Walton, John Hicks, Mulgrew Miller, Tommy Flanagan, Ellis Marsalis, Barry Harris, Kenny Barron, Renee Rosnes, Cyrus Chestnut and Oliver Jones. Dave’s profound sensitivity and distinctive solo work on Two By Two 1 & 2 was singled out again and again by noted jazz writers such as Bill Milkowski. Bill wrote in Jazz Times, " Flawless time, big, buoyant tone and bold solo ideas keen instincts and depth of musicality. The results of (his playing) are a testament to his ability to listen and adapt his concept of time from player to player." A third volume is currently in the planning stages.
Dave has had an extensive recording career, covering a variety of milieus with a number of diverse artists. In the fall 2000, Justin Time Records released of Tale of the Fingers, with special guest, Cedar Walton. A standing-room only CD release event (featuring a "live" performance) took place in Toronto at "The Montreal Bistro", and in 2001, Tale of the Fingers received a Juno nomination. Dave has appeared numerous times at Toronto’s "Montreal Bistro", and re-united recently with Cedar Walton (to rave reviews) this past February, 2003. Mark Miller of The Globe & Mail said of the performance, "Walton’s improvisations were exhaustive the respite that Young offered in his occasional solo spots, which countered the pianist’s cool and often unyielding approach with something warmer and, line by line, far more supple. As contrasts in music go, this one was very nice, and-and very necessary." Perhaps one of the versatile Dave Young’s most loved and popular musical combinations is his own Quintet (which is firmly rooted in the be-bop tradition--focusing on the material of Horace Silver and Charles Mingus).
Another recent recording release, We Three is a collaborative trio project with tenorist/pianist/composer Phil Dwyer and drummer Michel Lambert. The CD was released on the "TorontoSound.com" cyber label, and subsequently embarked on a national tour in 2002, performing material from this remarkable recording. The "We Three Trio" returned to "The Montreal Bistro" for a week in May of 2003, bringing their unique and highly musical point of view back home to Toronto.
In the classical genre, Dave regularly tours with clarinetist James Campbell and pianist Gene Di Novi in a program of "Classical Fusion" that melds the classical and jazz worlds into a fascinating and entertaining musical program.
Dave also performs a "dueling basses" repertoire of classical works with Toronto Symphony bassist, Joel Quarrington. Dave Young is looking forward to playing this summer (in a variety of classical and jazz formats) at "The Parry Sound Festival" where he has been a regular, and much loved performer for some years.
In addition to concert performances, club appearances, touring, recording and Festival performance work, Dave Young is also a dedicated jazz educator. In January of 2003, Dave Young appeared with his Quartet at the International Association for Jazz Education Conference, and was also the recipient of "The I.A.J.E. Award for Outstanding Service to Jazz Education". Dave Young has taught and continues to teach at numerous music seminars and jazz clinics, as well as being a faculty member of both Humber College and The University of Toronto. In January 2003, he was in residence at The Music Department of St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish. He conducted bass master classes and performed in concerts with The Jazz Faculty, and trombonist Gene Smith (Chairman of The Jazz Faculty of St. Francis Xavier University).
A recent engagement of which Dave Young is very proud, was his trip to Mexico, during which he represented the Canadian Consulate in Mexico, and performed concerts in Monterrey and Mexico City. Other members of the trio included Bernie Senensky on piano and Anthony Michelli on drums.
"In other words, I am three. One man stands forever in the middle, unconcerned, unmoved, watching, waiting to be allowed to express what he sees to the other two. The second man is like a frightened animal that attacks for fear of being attacked. Then there’s an over-loving gentle person who lets people into the uttermost sacred temple of his being and he’ll take insults and be trusting and sign contracts without reading them and get talked down to working cheap or for nothing, and when he realizes what’s been done to him, he feels like killing and destroying everything around him including himself for being so stupid. But he can’t-he goes back inside himself."
‘Which one is real?’
‘They’re all real.’
‘Mingus One, Two and Three. Which is the image you want the world to see?&&&
--Charles Mingus, from Beneath the Underdog Knopf 1971
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