Critically acclaimed composer, recording artist, drummer, activist, and educator Mark Lomax II and The Urban Art Ensemble will present “400: An Afrikan Epic – Blues in August” in a free performance at 8 p.m. March 17 at Ohio Wesleyan University.
The group will perform in Gray Chapel inside Ohio Wesleyan’s University Hall, 61 S. Sandusky St., Delaware. Mark Lomax & The Urban Art Ensemble also includes Edwin Bayard on tenor sax and Dean Hulett on acoustic bass.
The group’s 75-minute OWU performance will be drawn from Lomax’s 12-album collection, “400: An Afrikan Epic.” Released in 2019, the collection “traces the epic history of Black America, not only during the 400 years from the beginning of the Transatlantic slave trade but back through thousands of years of history on the African continent and into an optimistic future for the African diaspora.”
Lomax’s work has been described as a celebration of “the resilience, brilliance, strength, genius, and creativity of a people who continue to endure while offering an inspired view of the future.” The group’s Ohio Wesleyan concert will focus on movement nine, “Blues in August,” a tribute to Black men, including the legacy of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson.
A lifelong resident of Columbus, Lomax, D.M.A., specializes in the socio-political and spiritual aspects of African-American art music, race, and the usage of the arts to build community. He was the 2019 Wexner Center Artist in Residence at The Ohio State University.
Of his work, Lomax says, “Music is a language that transcends social and societal barriers, and connects with people of all ages and ethnic backgrounds. I am excited to share with people around the world, a suite of music that connects people to their history in order to create a better world for future generations.”
All About Jazz contributor Karl Ackermann praised Lomax’s landmark recording, stating, “There is no hyperbole in the title ‘400: An Afrikan Epic’; it is a work of significant importance, a spiritual fact-finding mission that plays out as an impressive, multilayered historical soundtrack.”
In addition, The Borderland (UK) proclaims, “I can’t think of any other album … that is this breathtaking.”
Lomax holds a Doctor of Music Arts degree in composition and theory from Ohio State. He has been heavily influenced by his father, a pastor, and mother, a composer of children’s gospel music. During his career, he has performed with Delfeayo Marsalis, Clark Terry, Bennie Maupin, Marlon Jordan, Azar Lawrence, Billy Harper, Ellis Marsalis, Wessel “Warmdaddy” Anderson, and many others. His discography includes more than 40 published recordings, most created under his leadership.
Learn more about Lomax at https://marklomaxii.com. Learn more at OWU’s Department of Music and upcoming performances at www.owu.edu/music.
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