Famed Charles Mingus piece inspires new jazz and dance

Famed Charles Mingus piece inspires new jazz and dance
Famed Charles Mingus piece inspires new jazz and dance

Famed Charles Mingus piece inspires new jazz and dance

Charles Mingus was a musical genius. His work defies definition — it contains elements of swing, bop, hard bop, free jazz, and what’s known as “third stream” (blending elements of jazz and orchestral music). Widespread recognition of his talent as a composer started coming his way in the late ‘50s with albums like “Mingus Ah Um,” which featured his band of rotating musicians known as the Jazz Workshop. In 1963 Mingus released “The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady.” It’s one long composition, written as a ballet-in six movements, and it’s widely regarded as one of the great achievements in orchestration by any composer in jazz history. Now, the “Made in Chicago: World Class Jazz” series has teamed up with composer Greg Ward and choreographer Onye Ozuzu to create new pieces of music and dance inspired by the Mingus work. It’s a co-production of Constellation and Links Hall, and it takes flight Thursday night at Millennium Park. The musicians stopped by our studio for a preview. (WBEZ/Lacy Scarmana)