Langston Hughes’ “Ask Your Mama: 12 Moods for Jazz” Featuring the Ron McCurdy Quartet A Special Jazz at the Memo Night
The Langston Hughes Project is a riveting Jazz-crossover piece by Dr. Ron McCurdy (USC Music Director and international Jazz recording artist) where Hughes’ iconic poem suite “Ask Your Mama: 12 Moods for Jazz” truly comes to life! Combining the spoken words of this poem with engaging visuals, Dr. McCurdy illustrates the celebration of life in the Harlem Renaissance, the racial plights of the 1960s as well as the explosion of artists during this time period. This piece is accompanied by his Jazz quartet playing original compositions of various other genres that include Latin “cha-cha”, German literacy, Jewish liturgy, West Indian calypso, and more that are inspired by Hughes’ musical notations in the original poem. Many critics have claimed that Dr. McCurdy has “finished the work” that Langston Hughes never could on this poem.
This project has played stages around the world, received numerous awards including the 2016 Jazz FM award for Outstanding Live Experience. In the current cultural climate of diversity and separation, Hughes’ works have begun to resonate more and more as they are once again relevant; one of the many reasons that The Langston Hughes Project is such an important piece!