Mingus Big Band

Lauren Sevian & Kenny Drew, Jr
Lauren Sevian & Kenny Drew, Jr

I think the biggest compliment the Mingus Big Band at the Ottawa Jazz Festival can receive is that they live up to their name. Close your eyes while you listen to this performance and you'd do well to find notable differences between them and the erstwhile real thing. With lofty ambitions, the Mingus Big Band, under the direction of Mingus' widow, Sue Mingus, nailed some of the songs that wrote Mingus into jazz history including a segment the courageous and haunting Epitaph (which like other Mingus songs confronts the racism and other injustices Mingus experienced and loathed).