Mings and Craig


Mings and Craig

Mings and Craig is a jazz guitar duo consisting of Jim Mings and Monty Craig. They are based in South Carolina and have self-released their first CD Day By Day. The album includes classics such as “Day By Day,” “Till There Was You,” “Nature Boy,” “Emily,” “I Thought About You,” “’Round Midnight,” and others. This project is the culmination of 28 years of musical and personal friendship. The album unfolds as a thoughtful musical conversation between two people who deeply listen to each other and share mutual respect.

Jim and Monty’s unique gift is to create beautiful melodic music that speaks directly to the heart. Their style is peaceful, uncluttered, straight-ahead, and swinging! In Day by Day, they chose songs that tell stories. These songs appeal to all people, no matter what type of music they like. Because Monty and Jim are grounded in their shared goal of taking the listeners to happy destinations, there is plenty of room for joyful exploration and improvisation during the journey.

Jim Mings Biography

Jim can be described as “being able to turn a melody.” His playing is melodic, sophisticated, direct, and always grounded in his blues roots. He draws upon a vast knowledge of songs from all eras to sing through his instrument.

Jim began his career in his hometown of Austin, TX. By the age of 15, he performed nightly at Austin nightclubs, including The Continental Club, Vulcan Gas Company, and Armadillo World Headquarters. During his early Austin days, Jim was considered one of the city’s top blues and rock guitar players. His admirers were none other than the young Eric Johnson and Stevie Ray Vaughan, both of whom have mentioned him in interviews as one of their early blues guitar influences. Jim has performed with Johnny Lee Hooker, Jimmy Reed, Chuck Berry, Janis Joplin, ZZ Top, and Jimmy Vaughan.

When he moved to Columbia, SC, to study and teach at The University of South Carolina, Jim led a quartet featuring the young saxophone child prodigy, Chris Potter. Jim regularly performed with all of the top local jazz players and backed up many famous musicians traveling through town, which included Mundell Lowe, Clark Terry, Dizzy Gillespie, Bucky Pizzarelli, Eddie Daniels, Bob Hope, Red Rodney, Bill Watrous, Lew Tabackin, Bernard Purdie, Ed Soph, Don Thompson, Ron Westray, Wycliffe Gordon, Laurindo Almeida, and many others. Jim received his master’s degree in jazz performance from The University of South Carolina.

Monty Craig Biography                                

Monty strives to create melodic and harmonic colors for each individual tune. His musical personality comes across with a touch of modernism, playfulness, and humor.  He is virtuosic but not mechanical.

Monty began playing jazz guitar in Greenville, SC, where he studied with Charlie Wood and Tim Haden. He continued his education with Jim Mings at The University of South Carolina and joined the South Carolina National Guard Band, where he was mentored by two SC greats, trumpeter Charlie Parker and saxophonist Skipp Pearson. He attended Berklee College of Music and studied with Al DeFino and Bret Wilmont. Monty continued serving in the National Guard, performing with the Massachusetts National Guard Band in Fall River.  Monty joined the Army Band of New York City and while there, studied with Ben Monder, Dave Stryker, and Berklee classmate Kurt Rosenwinkel.

Monty has served as Professor of Jazz Guitar at Clemson University since 2006. His specialties include improvisation, music theory, small group performance, beginner guitar, and jazz history. He is a founding member of the Clemson Faculty Jazz Combo and is an active performer and member of many professional groups. He has performed with Ben Street, Ben Monder, Chris Potter, Ron Westray, Wycliffe Gordon, Fred Wesley, and Jeff Sipe. Under his direction, the Clemson student and faculty combos perform up to 100 performances a year. He is a member of the Jazz Education Network.

In 2003 Monty released a recording of all original jazz compositions called Rocket Number Nine Zoom Zoom Up on the Contraphonic label. In 2015 he and Jim Mings released Day by Day.