The public is invited to join University of Arkansas’ Department of Music and the University Libraries for a night of jazz music with the Mingus Dynasty Quartet in honor of the late John Stubblefield at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 6, in the Jim and Joyce Faulkner Performing Arts Center. This event is free and open to the public.
The Libraries’ Special Collections division houses the papers of Stubblefield, a notable jazz musician from Little Rock who played with Charles Mingus. Stubblefield helped Sue Mingus, Charles’ wife, start the Mingus Big Band in 1992 to honor her late husband. A display of items from the Stubblefield collection will be available for the public to view in the lobby of the Faulkner Center throughout the performance.
“We’re honored to be the archival repository for John Stubblefield’s papers,” said Lori Birrell, associate dean for Special Collections. “Since they were made available for research in 2019, the materials have been used by our faculty and students as part of their coursework and research, as well as by members of the public who are interested in learning more about Stubblefield’s career and impact.”
The papers were donated by Stubblefield’s sister, Joyce Stubblefield Pattillo, in 2012.
“My brother loved arranging, composing and performing music,” Pattillo said. “He loved it so much; he devoted his life to being a dedicated musician who intensely had his own sound and style of playing.
While he experienced music with other bands, and his group, Quiet Fire, his passion was with the Mingus Band. After Sue Mingus founded the big band in Charles Mingus’ honor, John – the only band member who had played with Mingus – became a steward of the Mingus legacy.
Pattillo said band members called him ‘The Professor,’ and his stage presence and smile were contagious. While John was hospitalized, Sue Mingus and the band members never left his side. These visits lifted his spirit and inspired him to continue what he loved – writing, arranging and discussing ‘the music.’
“I admired my brother, he always knew exactly what he wanted to be when he grew up – he became just that – ‘The Professor’ – a musicians’ musician,” Pattillo said.
The Mingus Big Band will also host a masterclass for University of Arkansas jazz students from 9:50 to 11 a.m. Friday, Feb. 7 in the Lewis E. Epley Jr. Band Hall. The class is open to the public.
“It’s a wonderful way to celebrate the first year of our new jazz program at University of Arkansas by hosting these distinguished musicians and by paying homage to one of Arkansas’ great jazz musicians,” said Jacob Hertzog, Jazz Area coordinator and senior instructor of guitar.