top of page


Click on photos to expand.
Photos by Jonathan Clark. 
Courtesy of Nogales International.

2023 Mingus Jazz Clinic

Santa Cruz Advocates for the Arts:

The Mingus Project hosted a Jazz clinic for County high school and middle school jazz students on November 16, 2023.

An impressive professional group of jazz musicians served as clinicians for the students, led by Dr. Angelo Versace, Director of Jazz Studies at The University of Arizona.


The students had the opportunity to listen to these outstanding jazz educators, then they were given instruction in sectionals, and finally performed for their peers and parents to wrap up the day. The pros both taught the students, and also sat in and played alongside them.

2023 Mingus Jazz Clinic Gallery

Click on photos to expand.
Photos by Jonathan Clark and Manny Huerta.
Courtesy of Nogales International.

List of Clinicians

Dr. Angelo Versace - pianists

Mike Moynihan - saxes

Rob Boone - trombones

Arthur Vint- drums/percussion

Jason Carder - trumpets

Chris Finet - basses

Matt Mitchell- guitars



Schools/jazz bands  that participated

Nogales High School

Rio Rico High School

Desert Shadows Middle School

Wade Carpenter Middle School

Calabasas Middle School

Coatimundi Middle School

Mingus 2023 poster.jpg
Better Get It In Your Soul
jazz-april (1).png

Learn more about the Nogales and Tubac Jazz Celebrations.

Funds are still being sought to put finishing touches on the Mingus Memorial and to fund the Centennial Celebration. Donate Now to support this project.

Legendary jazz bassist and composer Charles Mingus Jr. was born at the Camp Little Army Hospital in Nogales Arizona on April 22, 1922. His father, Sgt. Charles Mingus Sr., was stationed at the camp overlooking Mexico with his wife, Harriet Phillips Mingus, and their two daughters, Vivian and Grace, who were born at Camp Little before Charles.

Although the family soon left Nogales for a new life outside in Watts California, the fact that this jazz great was born in Nogales is reminder of the legacy of African Americans in southern Arizona. Many were a melding of races, as Mingus was: African, European and Chinese with, perhaps, some Mexican and Native American blood added to the mix.

While rumors exist of Mingus visiting Nogales and playing in clubs in Sonora, there is no proof of this romantic notion. But he did spend time in Cuernavaca Mexico seeking a cure for ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) and died there on Jan. 5, 1979.

Nevertheless, Mingus has revisited this border town in spirit through projects generated by southern Arizona music fans and funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Arizona Commission on the Arts. “Jazz on the Border: The Mingus Project” was produced in April 1993 by the Tucson Jazz Society and the Nogales-Santa Cruz County Chamber of Commerce. It included youth education, a performance of Mingus’ Epitaph and the world premiere of a long-lost movement from that masterwork, and free concerts in on both sides of the border.

The Santa Cruz Advocates for the Arts was formed in 2007 to renew the celebration of Mingus’ legacy by producing the annual “Charles Mingus Hometown Music Festival,” and by building a memorial park at the former entrance to Camp Little at Western and Bejarano streets.

The Mingus Memorial Park is a public/private partnership, the City of Nogales having donated the land, infrastructure and upkeep. The Pimeria Alta Historical Society and Museum, 136 N. Grand Ave., houses materials from the original Mingus Project as well as documents and photographs from Camp Little. The Memorial also recognizes and honors historical African American figures who greatly contributed to this community.


Visitors to Nogales will find other interesting things to see including the restored 1903 Santa Cruz County Courthouse perched on a hill overlooking the charming little town of about 20,000 friendly people.


Mingus Memorial Park, Nogales, Arizona, 2021



bottom of page