South Orange resident brings home Grammy

South Orange resident and artistic director of Mingus Big Band, Seth Abramson, received a Grammy in the “Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album” category for his co-production on the album “Mingus Big Band Live at Jazz Standard.”

Mingus Big Band was nominated seven times and was a first-time Grammy winner.

Abramson explained that he was superstitious and did not want to write down an acceptance speech—just in case.

“I was hoping we’d win, but I didn’t want to be disappointed if we lost,” he said. “It was an honor to be nominated.”

Abramson’s interest in music began when he started playing guitar at 8 years old. He majored in music at New York University and went on to work in marketing at Columbia Records and Atlantic Records (then Geffen Records) while playing with different bands around the city.

Abramson was Vice President at the booking agency J. Chriss & Co., where he represented artists such as Mose Allison, Tommy Flanagan and Pharaoh Sanders, when he met Sue Mingus. The two kept in touch for years and finally he joined the “home” of the Mingus Big Band.

On Mondays, the club Jazz Standard, located on East 27th Street, features one of the three Mingus bands: Mingus Big Band, Mingus Orchestra or Mingus Dynasty.

“The Mingus Big Band has found a home here at Jazz Standard,” said Sue Mingus, co-producer in a press release. “We’re truly blessed to be performing at, and now celebrating with Jazz Standard,”

At the Grammys, Grammy-nominated singer Sara Bareilles presented Abramson with the award during the pre-telecast ceremony.

Abramson was excited to have won and thanked everyone who made the recording possible, from WBGO Radio to Union Square Hospitality Group’s Danny Meyer, partnered with the restaurant Blue Smoke above Jazz Standard.

“We’re so humbled by this! It’s truly an honor to play such an integral role in keeping the Mingus legacy alive and kicking,” said Abramson. “This never would’ve come to fruition without the perseverance and zeal of Sue Mingus.”

Mingus Big Band was running against nominees such as Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society’s album “Infernal Machines,” Billy Childs Ensemble Featuring the Ying String Quartet’s “Autumn: In Moving Pictures Jazz-Chamber Music Vol. 2,” Dave Holland Octet’s “Pathways” and “54” by Metrople Orkest, John Scofield and Vince Mendoza.

Days after the Grammy’s, Abramson said he was still ecstatic, thrilled and honored to be nominated among the other greats in the album category and to win the golden trophy.

“It felt great. It was an honor to be nominated. It’s something as a kid you dream of,” he said. “Having been in the business now for over 20 years…It was a dream come true to be recognized by the Academy and your peers. It was a thrill and a career high for sure.”

“Mingus Big Band Live at Jazz Standard” was the Jazz Standard club’s first co-produced album and 10th recording.

Patrice Kubik can be reached at

Author: Staff Writer

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