Thursday 26 January 2023

The Duke and Mingus

RTÉ Concert Orchestra

Time 8:00pm
National Concert Hall Dublin

Tickets: from €15


RTÉ Concert Orchestra
Guy Barker conductor
Giacomo Smith clarinet/saxophone
Allan Harris vocalist 

Guy Barker’s extraordinary career has seen him move from jazz soloist and bandleader – working with an unbelievable rollcall of artists – to composer and one of the most sought-after arrangers in the world today. He is Associate Artist of the RTÉ Concert Orchestra and Irish audiences have got a flavour of their incredible concerts together in recent years with evenings of Miles Davis, soul classics and more. Now they are bringing back Guy’s centenary tribute to Charles Mingus first performed last year, this time teaming it with a first half exploring the music that shaped Mingus, all in Guy’s fantastic new orchestrations.     

There are tunes from the album Mingus and Ellington made together, Money Jungle, including Ellington’s Fleurette Africaine and Caravan by Juan Tizol. (It was a fight with Tizol that led to Mingus being sacked from the Ellington band, with no hard feelings!)And from another influence on Mingus, there is Jelly Roll Morton’s take on Scott Joplin’s Maple Leaf Rag, as arranged by Guy. 

The Mingus suite combines music with storytelling to give a flavour of the man as well as the musician. The tunes range from the famous to the less familiar and demonstrate the breadth of his work, including Fables of Faubus, Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting and Goodbye Pork Pie Hat.  

Completing this world-class evening, Tony Bennett’s favourite singer Allan Harris makes a welcome return and on clarinet and alto saxophone the extraordinary Giacomo Smith, one of the top names on the international jazz scene, makes his NCH debut. 

Guy writes of Charles Mingus: ‘There is some kind of passion in his work that speaks not just to jazz-lovers but to people across the musical spectrum. The rock and pop worlds loved Mingus, for example, which is why Joni Mitchell made a record with him, why Keith Richard and Charlie Watts got involved in a tribute album, and why Elvis Costello toured with Mingus’s Big Band after the man himself had passed. His music touches something in your soul.’ Likewise, Guy Barker’s evenings with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra are something special and a source of joy not just for jazz fans but for music lovers in general. Not to be missed.