mingus amungus
a celebration of the spirit of charles mingus in music and dance

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the band: personnel
miles perkins | director, acoustic bass
As a child growing up in the late 1960s in Berkeley, California, Miles Perkins, the director, founder and bassist for Mingus Amungus, was fortunate to be surrounded by music, dance, and a passion for exploration. Growing up in such a diverse environment as Berkeley allowed Miles to view the world, and jazz, in a non-traditional way. This world view would become the basis for Mingus Amungus.
Perkins took advantage of the rich music and performing arts programs for which Berkeley is renown. The classically trained bassist took a hiatus from music while obtaining a degree in Philosophy from UCLA before returning to the jazz fold. Since 1991 he has steadily gained recognition not only as a bassist, but also as a creative and charismatic band leader. Appearing with artists such as Peter Apelfbaum, Billy Childs, Pete Escovedo, Chico Freeman, Craig Handy, John Handy, Monyungo Jackson, William Kennedy, Charles McPherson, Marcus Printup, Joshua Redman, Dianne Reeves, Carlos Santana, and Sonny Simmons, he also makes a special guest appearance on the Charlie Hunter Trio's self-titled debut CD and Cleveland Lounge Act's debut CD and can also be seen gigging with Milestone recording artist Dave Ellis.
Feeling the need to expand the concept of jazz, Perkins founded Mingus Amungus in 1994. Using the inspiration of Charles Mingus' music as a foundation, but also operating outside the confine of traditional jazz, the group quickly became a Bay Area favorite at local clubs, jazz festivals, and concert halls. Miles received a nomination for Outstanding Bassist in the 2004 California Music Awards.

 

gavin distasi | trumpet
Gavin, an alumnus of the well-known Berkeley High School Jazz Ensemble, accepted a scholarship to the New England Conservatory of Music, where he studied for two years as a classical performance major. Upon returning to the Bay Area, Gavin teamed up with fellow Berkeley High graduate, Joshi Marshall. They soon began studying and performing with Joshi’s father, longtime Bay Area jazz bass stalwart Fred Marshall, in the avant garde ensemble Marshall Arts. Soon after, Gavin and Joshi started two other well received groups, Groove Shop and Daddy Goddus and worked with many other groups in the 90’s San Francisco acid-jazz scene, such as Fungo Mungo, the Mo’Fessionals, Alphabet Soup, Jungle Biskit, and Human Flavor, to name a few.
Since joining Mingus Amungus in 1998, Gavin has continued to expand his musical interests, playing and touring with many reggae artists including Don Carlos (of Black Uhuru fame), The Abysinians, The Mighty Diamonds, Sister Carol, Big Youth, Charlie Chaplin and many others. From this he helped form Dub Vision, which is the permanent backing band for Don Carlos, and works with many of the top names in reggae music.
Recently, Gavin and Joshi have been making cameos with local up-and-coming neo soul star Goapele and her band The Heat, and when he’s not on tour Gavin can be seen with Marcus Shelby’s Jazz Orchestra as well as his own small group the Gavin DiStasi Ensemble.

 

joshi marshall | saxophones
Joshi Marshall was born in 1971 in Berkeley California. At the age of ten he picked up a saxophone and has been playing ever since. He played in the prestigious Berkeley High School jazz ensemble and combo. In 1989 he took the award for Most Outstanding Soloist at the Monterey Jazz Festival High School competition. While still in high school Joshi had the opportunity to meet and host jam sessions at his house with musicians such as Pharoe Saunders and Benny Green.
After high school Joshi was offered a scholarship to Berkelee School of Music in Boston which he turned down in order to start a professional career and apprenticeship with Faye Carol, a prominent Blues and Jazz singer in the bay area. After three years working with Faye, Joshi began a jazz trio with his father, Fred Marshall, the bassist for Vince Giralldi and has played with other artists such as John Hendrix, Bullesseti and Max Roach. The band, Martial Arts, played locally for over ten years. During that time Joshi also played with artists such as Charlie Hunter and Josh Jones.
In the early nineties he was a part of the Jazz Hip-Hop scene south of Market in San Francisco playing and recording with bands such as Groove Shop, Daddy Goddess, Dog Slyde, Human Flavor, The Mofessionals, Jungle Biskit and Bop City.
In 1995 Joshi began playing with Mingus Amungus a band he is still working with today.
Over the last five years Joshi has played with artists such as Santana, John Santos and the Machete Ensemble, Blackalicious, Goaple, Nicodemus and the Reggae artist Don Carlos.
He is currently working with his own ensemble, “The Joshi Marshall Project”.
marty wehner | trombone
Marty is a Berklee College of Music alumnus whose resume is impeccable. The trombonist is a sought after player who has played with some very big names in the music industry and is pursued regularly for live performance gigs as well as studio work. He has played with Dizzy Gillespie, Phil Woods, Benny Carter, the Mingus Epitaph Orchestra, Tony Toni Tone, Wynton Marsalis, Bob Weir and Rat Dog, the Joe Henderson Big Band, Natalie Cole, Lavay Smith, Tito Puente, Pete Escovedo, Dave Ellis and more. He played on Carlos Santana's song “The Game of Love” w/ Michele Branch which won a Grammy Award. He has played some of the biggest festivals and venues around the world and has played on TV shows: David Letterman, Jay Leno, BET and VH1. Currently, he gigs with his own group, Funkbone, as well as teaching at the Univ. Of Cal.- Berkeley in the Jazz Department.
 
steve rossi | drums
Upon his return to the Bay Area, some ten years ago, drummer Steve Rossi found himself in a variety of musical situations. Known for his musical versatility, the ground-breaking jazz group Marshal Arts Trio and prog-rock recording artist Emily Bezar were among his first endeavors. More recently Steve has performed alongside saxophonists, James Moody, John Handy, Josh Redman and Dave Ellis. He’s also appeared with violinist Regina Carter and fellow drummers Albert “Tootie” Heath, studio legend Ndugu Chancellor and Latin jazz guru Pete Escovido. Other credits include NY guitarist Cheryl Bailey, and the bands Groove Shop and Alphabet Soup. He has been a visiting faculty member at the Stanford Jazz Workshop since 1988 and was educated at California Institute of the Arts and Berklee College of Music. Steve can currently be found working with The Joshi Marshall Project and fronting his own band, Fractious Culture. A collaboration with renowned Lebanese guitarist Tony Khalife is under way, entitled “Desert Raga Jazz”, in which Steve draws on a vast expanse of influences including jazz, Middle Eastern, Indian and Gypsy cultures. Steve Rossi currently endorses D’Amico Drums.
 
martin g. reynolds ("ho-flow") | vocals
A Los Angeles Times writer once wrote, that "HoFlow has the unique ability to
bridge genres of hip hop and jazz with his lyrical style, content and presence." HoFlows professional career as an artist took off in 1995 with the powerhouse hip hop/jazz band Jungle Biskit, of which he was an original member. His lyrical tone, high energy performances, lyrical content and ability to engage the crowd have always been a crowd pleaser. He has shared the stage with: Carlos Santana, Salt n' Pepa, Christian McBride, Joshua Redman, The Mingus Big Band, John Santos, Wu Tang Klan, Felonious, Alphabet Soup, and many others. HoFlow's own hip hop group, Bop City, will release their debut CD in 2004. He is also an award-winning journalist at the Oakland Tribune who inspires to one day win both a Grammy Award and a Pulitzer Prize.

 

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