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FAMU Lyceum Series presents Langston Hughes’ Ask Your Mama: Twelve Moods for Jazz  

Submitted by Pamela Tolson

     TALLAHASSEE, FL – Florida A&M University (FAMU) Lyceum Series will present Langston Hughes’ Ask Your Mama: Twelve Moods for Jazz featuring the Ron McCurdy Quartet with special guest spoken-word artist Malcolm-Jamal Warner on Friday, Jan. 25, 2013. The performance is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in Lee Hall Auditorium. 

    Tickets are available now at FAMU’s Ticket Office located in the Alfred Lawson, Jr. Multipurpose Center and Teaching Gymnasium.  Ticket prices are $20, $15 and $10, depending on the location of the seats.

    The Langston Hughes Project is a multimedia concert performance of Langston Hughes’ kaleidoscopic jazz poem suite titled Ask Your Mama: Twelve Moods for Jazz. This is Hughes’ homage in verse and music to the struggle for artistic and social freedom at home and abroad at the beginning of the 1960s. It is a 12-part epic poem which Hughes scored with musical cues drawn from blues and Dixieland, gospel songs, boogie woogie, bebop, progressive jazz, Latin “cha cha,” Afro-Cuban mambo music, German lieder, Jewish liturgy, West Indian calypso, and African drumming – a creative masterwork left unperformed at his death.

    Utilizing engaging videography, this concert performance links the words and music of Hughes’ poetry to topical images of Ask Your Mama’s people, places, events and to the visual artists Langston Hughes admired and/or collaborated with most closely over the course of his career including the African-inspired mural designs and cubist geometries of Aaron Douglas, the blues and jazz-inspired collages of Romare Bearden, the macabre grotesques of Meta Warrick Fuller, the rhythmic sculptural figurines, heads, and bas reliefs of Richmond Barthe, and the color-blocked cityscapes and Black History series of Palmer Hayden and Jacob Lawrence.                    

    Together the words, sounds and images recreate a magical moment in 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 performance is brought to life by the extraordinary talents of the Ron McCurdy Quartet. McCurdy is professor of music in the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California (USC) and is past president of the International Association for Jazz Education. Prior to his appointment at USC, he served as director of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz at USC.

    McCurdy is co-author of a vocal jazz improvisation series titled “Approaching the Standards” published by Warner Bros.  He is the director of the National Grammy Vocal Jazz Ensemble and Combo, and also serves as director of the Walt Disney All-American College Band in Anaheim, Calif.

    Malcolm-Jamal Warner is a well-respected actor and director who first rose to national prominence starring on the celebrated and long-running classic television series “The Cosby Show.”  He has continued to achieve success as an actor, but also has received accolades as a poet and bass player.  Warner along with his jazz-funk bank, Miles Long, has performed in several major jazz festivals including the Playboy Jazz Festival and has opened for such high profile acts as Earl Klugh and the late Luther Vandross as well as his recent appearance at the historic Apollo Theater.

    On stage, Warner has star-red in the off-Broadway play “Three Ways Home,” “Cryin’ Shame,” for which he received the NAACP Theater Award for best supporting actor, “Freefall” at the Victory Garden Theatre in Chicago and in “A Midsummer Nights’ Dream at the La Jolla Playhouse in California.  Most recently, Warner received critical acclaim for his west coast debut of his one-man theatrical production of “Love and Other Social Issues.”

    For more information, con-tact the Office of Communications at (850) 599-3413


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