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Charles Mingus Centennial Jazz Fest: “Cumbia & Jazz Fusion”



Charles Mingus by Tom Marcello / WikiCommons

Kansas City’s Legacy Latin Jazz Bandleader Pablo Sanhueza will be a featured artist at the Charles Mingus Birthplace Centennial Jazz Festival in Nogales, Arizona, Saturday, April 23, 2022 from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm

Pablo Sanhueza will present “Cumbia & Jazz Fusion” at the birthplace of Charles Mingus, the US/Mexico border town of Nogales, Arizona. Sanhueza’s jazz festival appearance will take place during Jazz Appreciation month with reprise Kansas City dates on UNESCO International Jazz Day and May 7th, 2022 in the Historic 18th & Vine Jazz District.

Charles Mingus Centennial Jazz Fest
The Mingus Project Presents: Charles Mingus Centennial Jazz Celebration

Pablo Sanhueza will present his Latin Jazz Orchestra at the Charles Mingus Centennial Jazz Festival in Nogales, Arizona on Saturday, April 23, 2022. At the festival, Sanhueza will debut his interpretation of one of Mingus’ final masterpieces, the ‘Cumbia and Jazz Fusion’ album. Sanhueza, who was born and raised in Santiago, Chile, is recognized as the foremost proponent of Latin jazz in the Midwest. With this festival appearance, Sanhueza expands his own two decade legacy as a Latin jazz bandleader by honoring one of the forefathers of jazz. 

Pablo Sanhueza on Charles Mingus: “Mingus, in his constant search for new horizons, was able to look beyond the afro-cuban universe as a dominate musical force in the 20th century and instead decided to to connect to the indigenous music of South America in the last few years of his life. He did this in a decade where cumbia had not yet made its impact in American pop culture. Mingus was essentially forty years ahead of his time with the Cumbia & Jazz Fusion album. The internationalization of cumbia is a 21st century phenomenon.”

Pablo Sanhueza on his personal connection to the Cumbia & Jazz Fusion Album: “This album is of special relevance to me because it was a gift I received from my aunt Silvia who was a radio producer at the NPR station in Kansas City, Missouri. It also became my gateway, or portal, into Latin jazz which became the backbone of my musical career and a big part of my life purpose.” 

Sanhueza’s jazz festival presentation will be the first of many he has scheduled during the Mingus Centennial year. Kansas City presentations will include International Jazz Day on April 30, 2022 and concert at the Blue Room at 18th & Vine on Saturday, May 7, 2022.

The April 23rd jazz festival will include a ribbon-cutting dedication for the Charles Mingus Memorial Park with representatives of the Nogales Buffalo Soldiers Legacy Association, family members of Charles Mingus, and local dignitaries. The day-long festival will be headlined by the Mingus Dynasty Band featuring Joplin, Missouri native, and Mingus bandmate saxophonist  Charles McPherson.

Kansas City’s Legacy Latin Jazz Bandleader Pablo Sanhueza. Photo by Kim Wade at SilverBox Photographers
Kansas City’s Legacy Latin Jazz Bandleader Pablo Sanhueza. Photo by Kim Wade at SilverBox Photographers

Charles Mingus is one of the most important figures in twentieth century American music. He was a prolific composer, virtuoso bass player, accomplished pianist, bandleader, author, poet, civil rights activist. His number of jazz compositions is second only to Duke Ellington. Mingus was born April 22, 1922 at the United States Army base of Camp Stephen Little in Nogales, Arizona which was home to one of the Buffalo Soldier regiments from the 10th Cavalry. After 18 months in Nogales, his father was transferred to Los Angeles, California where Charles Mingus was raised and explored his early musical virtuosity  in the Watts neighborhood. 

Pablo Sanhueza has been deemed as “Kansas City’s Heart & Soul of Latin Music” by Jazz Ambassadors Magazine and recognized as the region’s premier Salsa & Latin Jazz percussionist and bandleader.  Since his arrival to Kansas City from Santiago, Chile in 1996 Pablo has dedicated the past 25 years of his distinguished career to the music of the Latin American experience. As a percussionist, bandleader, and teaching artist he has played with the mainstays of the genre and taught three generations of musicians in the Midwestern and Southwestern United States. 

Sanhueza brings the charisma and precision of the Maestros of the Mambo and Big Band era. In 2019, Sanhueza presented his apprentice musicians and veteran collaboration project to an audience of nearly 40,000. He has hosted the longest running salsa & Latin jazz nights of record in the Midwest at the Blue Room located at 18th & Vine Kansas City. Sanhueza is a master artist for the Missouri Traditional Arts Apprentice program and was the featured jazz presenter at the Missouri Bi-Centennial Celebration August 9, 2021 in Columbia, Missouri.

In 2018, Sanhueza co-founded the Kansas City Latin Jazz Orchestra and Latin Jazz Institute with jazz historian & producer Cynthia Ammerman. KCLJO/Latin Jazz Institute  manages an apprentice musician program, music camp, historical archive, and international partnerships with the US Department of State, Global Ties KC and multi-year UNESCO International Jazz Day presentations. The KCLJO is a 2021 National Endowment for the Arts recipient to support a commissioned project with NEA Jazz Master Eddie Palmieri. 

The Charles Mingus Centennial Jazz Festival is produced by the Mingus Project, and has been an  initiative of the Santa Cruz Advocates for the Arts since 1993.

Featured photo: Charles Mingus performs in lower Manhattan, N.Y., as a part of U.S. Bicentennial Celebrations on July 4, 1976. (Tom Marcello / WikiCommons)

Source: Kansas City Latin Jazz Orchestra

Web Publisher. Founder, Editor & Webmaster for Latin Jazz Network, World Music Report & That Canadian Magazine. A passionate and committed communicator with a sensibility for the arts based in Toronto, Canada.

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