The Langston Hughes Project Brings Jazz, Poetry, and History to the Stage Sept. 19

Posted on September 13th, 2018 by

The Gustavus Adolphus College Diversity Center and Fine Arts Department have collaborated to bring Ronald C. McCurdy and the multimedia performance of The Langston Hughes Project to the stage at 7:30 p.m. on September 19 at Björling Recital Hall.

The performance, which includes video and live jazz music, features 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 twelve-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. The accompanying video provides images and scenes from Hughes’ life and the world around him.

The performance is brought to life by the music of the Ron McCurdy Quartet. McCurdy is professor of music in the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California (USC). He has performed with a host of legendary jazz artists, including Wynton Marsalis, Joe Williams, Rosemary Clooney, Terence Blanchard, Leslie Uggams, Arturo Sandoval, Diane Schuur, Ramsey Lewis, Mercer Ellington, Dr. Billy Taylor, Maynard Ferguson, Lionel Hampton, and Dianne Reeves.

During McCurdy’s time on campus, he will work with students in several classes including English and theatre, as well as have time to meet and interact with music students during meal times.

The concert is free and open to the public, all are welcome to attend.


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