Page One

Concert will raise funds for students’ trip

Daily Planet wire services
Saturday February 17, 2001

Mingus Amungus, one of the Bay Area’s premier jazz bands, will headline a benefit concert March 4 in support of an educational trip to Cuba for 65 Berkeley High students.  

The trip is sponsored by Communication Arts and Sciences (CAS), a small school program within Berkeley High that emphasizes social justice, social responsibility and social change.  

Opening the concert will be an all-star jam featuring such renowned musicians, Dave Rokeach on drums and George Brooks on sax.  

Using the inspiration of Charles Mingus' music as a foundation, Mingus Amungus creates original compositions with hard-hitting be-bop, funk, and classical influences. The 7-piece BAMMIE award-winning band then sprinkles San Francisco's native hip-hop jazz flavor into the mix with a variety of lyricists, thereby bringing Mingus' work into a contemporary age. Mingus Amungus also incorporates Haitian, jazz improvisation, and West African dance into its repertoire, providing audiences with a powerful visual and musical experience.  

The band was founded in 1993 by Miles Perkins, a classically- trained bassist who has appeared with such artists as Peter Apelfbaum, Chico Freeman, Charles McPherson, Joshua Redman, Dianne Reeves and Carlos Santana. The charismatic bandleader is a graduate of Berkeley High and an alumnus of the world renowned Berkeley High School Jazz Ensemble. 

Perkins and Mingus Amungus keyboardist Muziki Roberson will also join in the opening all-star jam. Roberson was formerly the keyboard player, music director and collective member of the San Francisco Mime Troupe, with whom he toured Europe, Canada, Central America, and the United States.  

Aside from his expertise on the keyboard, Muziki is a talented composer in the jazz idiom. Drummer Dave Rokeach spent two years touring with Ray Charles, playing in both his big band and his smaller ensemble. Recently he has been appearing a great deal with Aretha Franklin. Rokeach is now a much sought after studio musician working primarily in the San Francisco Bay Area. 

George Brooks, noted sax player in the popular Bay Area band “The Fundamentals,” has also played sax for Etta James, Larry Coryell, Albert Collins, Robben Ford and Zakir Hussain for a number of years.  

His solo efforts have taken him throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. 

The Cuba trip, organized by Global Exchange, will be a chance to study in-depth the way that Cuba has organized its education and health care systems, and to document findings through video and a Web site. The 12-day trip offers CAS students the opportunity to extend their studies to a neighboring country that organizes its government and society very differently from our own.  

They can apply their knowledge of social systems in the U.S. to make comparisons and to evaluate the different paths these two societies have taken.  

CAS students will meet Cuban students and organizations and together do community service projects.  


What: Mingus Amungus in a benefit concert w/ Allstar Jazz Jam opener.  

When: Sunday, March 4 from 7-10 p.m.  

Where: Florence Schwimley Little Theater,1930 Allston Way, Berkeley  

For tickets: Call (510) 587-3201; Tickets also available at Black Oak Books, 1491 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley and at Walden Pond Bookstore,3316 Grand Ave., Oakland. price: $12 in advance, $15 at the door, $10 students 

On the net: