Dillard Arts Center performs ode to Langston Hughes

American poet, Langston Hughes

Concert to feature performance by the Ron McCurdy Quartet

Celebrating National Poetry Month, the Dillard Center for the Arts and the Old Dillard Museum presents a musical tribute to the legendary American poet, Langston Hughes, featuring the Ron McCurdy Quartet.  Part of the popular Cannonball Jazz Series, the concert is set for April 10, starting 4 p.m. at the Dillard High School Auditorium in Fort Lauderdale.

Known as the Langston Hughes Project, the event 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 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.

Its recovery now in word, music and image provides a galvanizing experience for audiences everywhere. 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. 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 1960’s.

The performance is brought to life by the extraordinary talents of the Ron McCurdy Quartet. Dr. Ronald C. McCurdy is the director of the National Grammy Vocal Jazz Ensemble and combo, serves as Director of the Walt Disney All-American College Band in Anaheim, California and is professor of music in the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California (USC).

For seat reservations call 754-322-8828, go to our website at www.olddillardmuseum.org or visit the Old Dillard Museum at 1009 NW 4th Street, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33311.

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