Here is one of my most recent articles. I'm really excited about this festival. I think it's a great thing for the community here.
On April 22nd 1922, a musical legend was brought into this world right here in Nogales, Arizona. The man was Charles Mingus, a famous Jazz composer and musician, and he was born on Camp Little where his father was stationed at the time. Mingus was and is still considered to have been equal or at least nearly equal to Duke Ellington due to the immense musical talent they both possessed.
Prior to 1993, there was nothing that was happening locally to commemorate this iconic figure. That was when the first Charles Mingus Festival was organized.
This year from April 20-22 The Mingus Project presents the Charles Mingus Hometown Music Festival. The three day event begins Friday the 20th at 7 p.m. with a concert in Nogales, Sonora at the Teatro Auditorio, where internationally know jazz musician Claudio Roditi will perform.
This will be followed up on Saturday morning at 10 a.m. with the ground breaking of the new Charles Mingus Memorial Park on the corner of Bejarano and Western Ave. The park, which will be privately funded, will be designed not only as a memorial for Mingus, but a place where small jazz groups can put on performances and other works of art can be displayed. “This is the beginning;” says Mayor Arturo Garino, “the beginning of a public art and historic site for Charles Mingus.” Mayor Garino with a selected group of students will build a mosaic to go on the 8-foot wall that will serve as the backdrop for the stage. Recessed lighting will be installed to illuminate the park and its artwork for all to see, even at night.
Following the ground breaking, the festivities will begin at the Safeway parking lot on Grand Ave. Here a series of free concerts will be put on by a number of bands and musical groups, including some local bands, including the Nogales High School Jazz Band, the Borderline 7 Dixieland Band, Vale Middle School, a group of students from both Coatimundi and Calabasas Middle Schools in Rio Rico, and much more.
Professional Jazz artists Dom Moio and Barb Catlin will also be performing. From 1 to 3 will be a Latin percussion performance and clinic for those interested in the lobby of Super 8 Motel. At the festival will also be several vendors there to sell snacks, drinks, and memorabilia.
On the evening of Saturday the 21st there will be a concert at the James K. Clark Performing Arts Center at Nogales High School. Here the award winning Tucson Jazz Institute’s Ellington Big Band will perform along with special guest Sy Johnson(who had the pleasure of working with Charles Mingus while he was alive). The Big Band Sounds of Green Valley will also be performing with guest Blues singer, Barbara Morrison.
The festival will end with a brunch on Sunday morning from 10 to noon at the Esplendor Resort in Rio Rico to celebrate Mingus’s birthday.
For tickets for the concerts or to find out more about The Mingus Project and the Charles Mingus Festival you can go online to http://www.mingusproject.com/.
You can also purchase tickets at La Cinderella on Mariposa, the Rio Rico Chevron, the Nogales Chamber of Commerce, Global Arts in Patagonia, or the National Bank of Arizona in Sonoita. VIP tickets are also available for the Saturday night concert at NHS.