Thursday, January 29, 2015

Charles Mingus' Epitaph - Live in Berlin

poster of the 1991 Berlin Jazz Festival
This is a long excerpt (25 mins) from the Charles Mingus Epitaph concert in Berlin, as conducted by Gunther Schuller.

The concert was held during the Berlin Jazz Festival in October 1991, nearly two years after Epitaph's New York premiere.

I found this invaluable footage, an off-air recording, on one of my old VHS tapes. Alas, the first piece on this video, Better Git In Your Soul (which is obviously not the first piece from the actual concert) is incomplete and starts from the middle. Like Mr. Schuller, I'm beginning to believe this ambitious piece of orchestral jazz is jinxed:

"There were many times in the many-months-long preparation for the issuance of Epitaph when I felt that what many of us consider a jinx under which this great work has stood—the first expression of which was the disastrous attempt to record Epitaph in I962—was continuing to exercise its evil curse. Recording equipment breaking down, gremlins in computerized mixing consoles, tapes being inadvertently locked up in temporarily inaccessible offices, unavailability of mixing and editing studies when needed, enormous scheduling conflicts, and so on." 
I hope someone comes up with the complete video of Berlin concert. Until then, enjoy this great 25 minutes of Mingus' music. 
Gunther Schuller

Charles Mingus' Epitaph - Live
Conducted by Gunther Schuller

The Orchestra:

Trumpet section - Randy Brecker, Jack Walrath, Stanton Davis, Walter White, Greg Gisbert, Ron Tooley
Trombone section - Art Baron, Eddie Bert, Sam Burtis, Douglas Purviance, Wayne Andre, George Flynn
Saxophones -  George Adams, Alex Foster, Craig Handy, Kathy Halverson, Rick Centalonza
Baritone Saxes - Ronnie Cuber, Joe Temperley
Bassoon - Michael Rabinowitz
Tuba - Don Butterfield
Vibraphone - Joe Locke
Guitar - Jack Wilkins
Basses - Mike Formanek, Dale Kleps, Ed Schuller
Pianos - Kirk Lightsey, Michael Weiss
Drums - Steve Johns
Percussions - Warren Smith, Mark Belair
Conducted - Gunther Schuller
October 29, 1991, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin

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