Wednesday, 11 September 2019 17:01

Mark Lomax Quartet to Stage '400: An Afrikan Epic' at SUNY Oswego

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Centuries of culture – Dr. Mark Lomax will lead his quartet in a concert of “400: An Afrikan Epic” at 7:30 Sept. 23 in Sheldon Hall ballroom. The performance fuses jazz, spiritual music and other black compositions to explore the past, present and future of a resilient and creative culture. Centuries of culture – Dr. Mark Lomax will lead his quartet in a concert of “400: An Afrikan Epic” at 7:30 Sept. 23 in Sheldon Hall ballroom. The performance fuses jazz, spiritual music and other black compositions to explore the past, present and future of a resilient and creative culture. Submitted photo

The Mark Lomax Quartet will explore past, present and future when they perform “400: An Afrikan Epic” at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 23 in SUNY Oswego's Sheldon Hall ballroom.

Led by Dr. Mark Lomax, the quartet is known to combine the fire and passion of John Coltrane’s legendary Classic Quartet of the 1960s with modern sensibilities, crafting a repertoire that includes spirituals, the works of jazz masters, original music and more. Their concert in the college's Artswego Performing Arts Series is part of a campus residency for the group.

"The drummer’s music is as sharp as his perceptions are, and it swings magnificently," Raul D’Gama of All About Jazz wrote of Lomax, who has a doctor of music degree from Ohio State University. His education, perception and vision come together in the ambitious recording of "400: An Afrikan Epic," which tells the story of the Afrikan diaspora over the course of a 12-album cycle.

Divided into three parts, the work expires the thousands of years of pre-colonial Afrika, the Ma’afa (400 years between 1619 and 2019) and Afro-futurism expressing a vision of what blacks in America will heal toward in the next 400 years. Lomax has said the work celebrates the resilience, brilliance, strength, genius and creativity of a people who continue to endure, while offering a transformative view of the future.

“There has never been a time in my life that music was not a part of me,” Lomax recalled. Heavily influenced by his father, a pastor, and his mother who composer of children’s gospel music, Lomax was introduced to gospel and jazz at an early age. He toured with gospel groups as a child, then expanded into jazz in his teens.

With what JazzTimes describes as a style of “forceful drumming would have made Elvin Jones proud,” the percussionist, composer, educator and activist has toured with the likes of Delfeayo Marsalis, Clark Terry, Bennie Maupin, Marlon Jordan, Azar Lawrence, Billy Harper, Ellis Marsalis, Wessel “Warmdaddy” Anderson and many others.

This concert will be the closing event of the college’s annual multicultural ALANA (African, Latino, Asian and Native American) Student Leadership Conference. As part of the conference, Lomax will present a lecture, "Black Music and Black Power in the Era of #BlackLivesMatter," at 12:30 p.m. in the Marano Campus Center auditorium, Room 132. That talk, about the role black musicians have traditionally played in social movements, is free and open to the public.

The group's residency will extend to Thursday, Sept. 24, with a pair of events: a 12:45 p.m. presentation and talk on the creation of the album and project for the "Intro to Worlds of Music" class, followed by a 2:20 p.m. master class and workshop with the college's Jazz Quartet.

Tickets for the Sheldon ballroom concert cost $20 for the general public; $15 for SUNY Oswego faculty, staff and alumni; and $5 for SUNY Oswego students, other students and children. Tickets are available online at tickets.oswego.edu, at any SUNY Oswego box office or by calling 315-312-3073.

The concert and residency are a collaboration of SUNY Oswego's Artswego; ALANA; School of Communication, Media and the Arts; College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; Office of Diversity and Inclusion; and President's Office.

For more information on performing arts events at SUNY Oswego, visit arts.oswego.edu.

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