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The WDVX Blue Plate Special – 3/23 – Joe Henry / Eric Mingus

March 23 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

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Part of Big Ears Festival:

Joe Henry is a Songwriter, musician, producer, poet and essayist.

Vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and poet Eric Mingus has been steeped in the jazz tradition since birth. Born in New York City, son of Charles and Judy Mingus, as a child Eric played underneath the piano while his father improvised and composed, accompanied his father to innumerable rehearsals and performances, and studied cello and music theory with his father, and drums with Dannie Richmond. Like his father, Eric exchanged the cello for the double bass in his teens, and he studied voice throughout his school years, winning medals in NY State competitions for his performances.

After studying voice and bass through his teens with various luminaries of the music world and a brief semester at Berklee college of music, Eric sought the education of the road, touring as a vocalist with, among others, Carla Bley and Karen Mantler, and having the opportunity to perform with Percy Heath, Jimmy Heath, Bobby McFerrin, George Adams and Don Pullen. Later on, Eric worked included performances with Wolfgang Puschnig, Steven Bernstein and his Millennial Territory Orchestra, and David Amram, among many others. Eric has performed at numerous major Jazz Festivals, including Saalfelden (Austria), Orvieto Winter Jazz and Ah Um Festival (Italy), Jazz a la Villette and Banlieues Bleues (France), the Berlin Jazz Festival (Germany), Montreal Jazz Festival (Canada), as well as other festivals such as the Adelaide Festival of the Arts (Australia), Bonnaroo Festival TN, Wall to Wall at Symphony Space NYC, and several performances at NYC’s Summerstage and Celebrate Brooklyn.

Eric was part of a commission celebrating the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s 1964 speech in Berlin Germany for the Berlin Jazz Festival, tasked to write poems that would intertwine with music written by Elliott Sharp. He has been commissioned to compose a piece for Yo Yo Ma’s new initiative, Our Common Ground, and was commissioned to contribute a recorded piece to the Centre Culture Irlandais in Paris, for a sound installation during covid lockdown. Eric was awarded a recording residency at Looking Glass Arts in summer 2022. He has recorded extensively as a leader as well as a collaborator.

Eric’s passion for poetry, and specifically the spoken word/ jazz tradition, led him to start a duo project with Howard Johnson; this work has continued through the years in duo and larger groups, with various collaborators, including a notable recording of Langston Hughes poetry, with pianist David Amram, which was released on Mode/Avant Records. Eric has worked very selectively with his father’s music, singing on the Mingus Dynasty album “Blues and Politics”, and more recently writing lyrics for his vocal performance on “Work Song (Break The Chains)” with the Mingus Big Band on their latest release, The Charles Mingus Centennial Sessions.

Eric works extensively in education; he is a judge and educator at the annual Charles Mingus High School competition, and has presented masterclasses and leadership ectures at Berklee, Harvard, UC Irvine, as well as at the Banlieues Blues Jazz festival (Paris, France) and the In Situ Arts Society (Bonn, Germany). He taught vocal improvisation classes and a Charles Mingus workshop at London’s Community Music House.

At this time, Eric has just completed a new solo recording for Ouch! Records (France), and is busy performing and writing new works.


March 23
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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