Dr. Ron McCurdy will narrate Langston Hughes’s epic jazz poem suite “Ask Your Mama” this Saturday at Wentz Hall in Naperville at 8PM. Tickets are $40 and $35 dollars.
The Langston Hughes Project is a multimedia concert performance of Langston Hughes’s kaleidoscopic jazz poem suite, “Ask Your Mama” – Hughes’s homage in verse and music to the struggle for artistic and social freedom at home and abroad at the beginning of the 1960s. “Ask Your Mama” is a twelve-part epic poem which Hughes scored with musical cues drawn from blues and Dixieland, gospel songs, boogie woogie, bebop and progressive jazz, Latin “cha cha” and Afro-Cuban mambo music, German lieder, Jewish liturgy, West Indian calypso, and African drumming – a creative masterwork left unperformed at his death.
A joyous celebration of music, spoken word and visuals, The Langston Hughes Project is performed by the impressively versatile Dr. Ron McCurdy (as narrator and on trumpet) and his talented group of musicians (on piano, bass and drums) who make heads bob, fingers snap and feet tap throughout. Together the words, sounds, and images recreate a magical moment in our cultural history, which bridges the Harlem Renaissance, the post World War II Beat writers’ coffeehouse jazz poetry world, and the looming Black Arts performance explosion of the 1960s.
The creator of the entire piece, Dr. McCurdy, is a Professor of Music in the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California, where he served as chair of the jazz department for 6 years. Dr. McCurdy is a consultant to the Grammy Foundation educational programs including serving as director of the National Grammy Vocal Jazz Ensemble.
Venue: Wentz Concert Hall, 171 E. Chicago Avenue in Naperville.
Tickets: $40, $35, available here.