Assembled in 1999 by Sue Mingus, the 10-piece Charles Mingus Orchestra plays with the intensity of Mingus Big Band, with a focus on composition and exploration of Mingus’ more diverse works. Its distinctive sound and textures emerge from an expanded repertory and more exotic instrumentation including bassoon, bass clarinet, French horn, and guitar — instruments not heard in the Big Band, and mostly non-traditional to jazz and modern improvisational music. The other six instruments are chaired by musicians that also perform in Mingus Big Band, and include drums, bass, trombone, trumpet, alto and tenor saxophone, with additional doublings on flute, soprano and clarinet.
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