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The Mingus Suite, Adriano Clemente

A Jazz Portrait in Seven Movements inspired by the music of Charles Mingus (1922-1979), is an idea that started in 2013 after I had composed a few tunes based on the blues structure in the tradition of Ellington and Mingus for my Akashmani Jazz Ensemble. ​While the various movements took shape into a coherent whole, I had the idea of a potential theatrical piece showing the great composer’s death while playing on the bandstand, remembering what Mingus himself had written in his notes  on “Mingus at Monterey”:  

"A weird thing happened during “A Train”. The fear of my death surged through me. And I overcame it. I was looking at the sky , and I said, ”Well, here I come, baby. Lord, I guess this is it.” So I’m just gonna play better cause I want to sound good when I die."

-Charles Mingus "Mingus in Monterey"

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Mingus Suite

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  1. Inner Fires

  2. Memories of Duke

  3. Urban Jungle I

  4. Circus

  5. Blues in Rags

  6. Night City Blues

  7. While You Are Asleep

  8. Urban Jungle II

  9. Last Blues

  10. Requiem/Inner Fires Reprise

  11. Brown Bear’s Love Waltz

  12. For my Father

L'Isola che non c'era
Intervista, recensione e bollino di qualità "Jazzit Likes It!" per il progetto "The Mingus Suite" sulla rivista JAZZIT


Musicians:  Akashmani Ensemble (1-11)

Francesco Lento, trumpet

Mario Corvini, trombone

Daniele Tittarelli, alto sax

Marco Guidolotti, baritone sax,

clarinet, bass clarinet

Riccardo Fassi, piano

Dario Rosciglione, double bass (except 4)

Raffaele Toninelli, bowed double bass (1, 4)

Andrea Nunzi, drums

Roberto Ottaviano, soprano sax (12)

Adriano Clemente, piano (12)

Release date:  26 May 2016

Genre:  Jazz

Production by:  Dodicilune

Total time: 58'24

All compositions and arrangements by: Adriano Clemente 

The first movement, Inner Fires, depicts Mingus playing his last concert with his band, and reflects one of the characteristics of Mingus’s compositions in the tempo changes and alternation of fierce and peaceful moods. After an intro by the horns, an improvised bass introduction by Dario Rosciglione opens the way to the up-tempo first section. The solos are mainly by Marco Guidolotti on baritone and Daniele Tittarelli on alto.


In the second movement, Memories of Duke, Mingus remembers his childhood, when he listened for the first time to Ellington’s “East St. Louis Toodle-Oo”, quoted brifefly at the end of the tune. The coda on the piano has been improvised by Riccardo Fassi.


Urban Jungle, the first interlude, is the sound of the city surrounding the club where Mingus is playing, with its chaos and violence. It consists mainly of five melodic lines with which the performers have the freedom to interact. Circus, the third movement, brings Mingus back to his childhood days.


The central section has been totally improvised in studio, with Mario Corvini on trombone as the main soloist. Back on stage, the band plays a minor blues Blues in Rags, fourth movement, where all musicians have the chance to take a solo, after which they play second interlude, Night City Blues, based on a blues structure of ten beats.


The fifth movement portrays Mingus asleep, in a ballad inspired by the famous “The Man who Never Sleeps”, with solos by Marco Guidolotti on clarinet, Dario Rosciglione on bass, and Francesco Lento on trumpet.


After a reprise of Urban Jungle as the third interlude, the band plays Last Blues, which is a variation on “Theme for Lester Young”, the tune that Mingus composed on stage after knowing of the great saxophone player’s death, and here a representation of Mingus’s own death. The song is opened by an improvised solo by Daniele Tittarelli followed by a composed introduction for alto. Solos are by Daniele again and Riccardo Fassi.


The seventh and last movement, Requiem, is opened by the mourning sound of a bass clarinet improvisation and continues in the style of the funeral marching bands, with solos by Mario Corvini on trombone and Francesco Lento on trumpet. At the end of the Requiem, Mingus’s bass again resounds in the improvised section by Dario Rosciglione, leading to a reprise of the theme of the first movement, Inner Fires: his spirit survives in his music as the inner fires of primordial sound, the creative force of the universe.

Andrea Nunzi
Marco Guidolotti
Adriano Clemente
Daniele Tittarelli
Dario Rosciglione
Francesco Lento
Mario Corvini
The Mingus Suite
Roberto Ottaviano
Riccardo Fassi

Besides the suite we have two compositions. The first is Brown Bear’s Love Waltz, whose original title was “Waltz for Sun Ra”, in which Marco Guidolotti his featured on baritone sax. The last piece, For my Father, was composed a few days after my father’s death and recorded with Roberto Ottaviano, whom I thank for his heartfelt interpretation and solo. The sinuous lines of his soprano express the ascent of the human soul like a bird set free from its cage.

This cd contains music belonging to the Akashmani Projects, a series of my projects that display the universal message of melody, harmony, and rhythm in various forms of expression and through different musical languages.

The Mingus Suite, Adriano Clemente



Will you lead me my Lord

Back to your green pastures

Will you make my path clear

To the land of no fear

Will you teach me to love

All the beasts weak and strong

And to be always kind

In the land of no mind

To my true home I’ll go

And I’ll see the sun that never sets

Shining through my hands

In the land where all sorrow ends.

- In the memory of my father Nicola Clemente  

(1918-2015)  who first taught me to love music.


Adriano Clemente

"Inner Fires" and "For my father" with the review on Mingus Suite by Pino SauloRAI Radio 3, Battiti, 26/10/2016
"Inner Fires" and review on Mingus Suite by Nicola BarinRadio Popolare Verona, Impulse Jazz, October 26th, 2016
"Blues in Rags" and review on Mingus Suite by Juliano PeruzySherwood Radio, "Take five, Jazz & Dintorni" 02-06-2016
"Inner Fires" and review on Mingus Suite by Bruno Pollacci Punto Radio, ANIMAJAZZ, 22 June 2016
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