I had the chance to see the Mingus Big Band, a 14-piece ensemble, play at Yoshi’s in SF Tuesday night. The show was incredible. It was my first time at the new Yoshi’s and it’s quite a bit swankier than the location in Oakland. We had a drink at the bar beforehand waiting for the doors to open to the 10pm show and the entire dining area is, well, swanky.
Hands down, Mingus is my favorite jazz musician. Crazy insane or just insane crazy, his music gets me like no other jazz style musician can. I missed the names of the first few songs, but the second half of the
set was Baby Take a Chance on Me, Ysabel’s Table Dance (which had an
incredible cadenza in the middle by the pianist), Pinkie (from Epithet,
although I couldn’t find that track on the set list from Epithet), and
finished up with Song with Orange.
I was quite impressed with all the songs they attempted. On one of the songs they performed they pulled the music out and told the audience this is the first time they’re trying to play it. Then the band leader turned around and talked off mic to the band for five minutes about the song. He turned around, sat down, counted off and they pretty much sight read the whole piece. Phenomenal. Coincidently the 22nd was Mingus’ birthday, which made the evening that much more special.