In one of his only two planned local public performances for 2016, drummer, composer, and educator Dr. Mark Lomax, II and his trio of Eddie Bayard (tenor saxophone) and Dr. William Menefield (piano) will perform a free concert at the Garden Theater, 1187 North High Street, on Wednesday, January 13th, at 7pm. The group will perform Blues People, a new seven-movement, hour-long composition by Lomax inspired by the 1963 Amiri Baraka book of the same name. Blues People “incorporates themes from recognizable Negro Spirituals and free improvisation to tell the story of an ongoing struggle for human rights in America.” The performance is part of August Wilson and the Four B’s, a year-long celebration of playwright August Wilson funded by a grant from PNC Arts Alive. Presented by The Johnstone Fund for New Music in partnership with Short North Stage and CFG Multimedia, this groundbreaking undertaking by three master musicians is highly recommended. Keep reading for more details from Lomax and the sponsors:
“The book Blues People examined the importance of music in African American culture as a testament of a people’s will to survive,” said Lomax. “The music evolved with the people, and while the Blues grew in complexity to become ‘jazz,’ it never lost its essence. Survival meant the development of an intricate outer mask that protected an essential Humanity.”
About August Wilson and the Four B’s
Funded by PNC Arts Alive, August Wilson and the Four B’s is a year-long celebration of playwright August Wilson. The “Four B’s” highlight Blues (music), Jorge Louis Borges (storytelling), Amiri Baraka (political playwriting) and Romare Bearden (visual arts/collage), all of which inspired Wilson. The festival includes theatrical productions, readings, concerts, lectures, museum exhibits and a dance recital. Festival activities are guided by Mark Clayton Southers, founder and Artistic Director of the Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre and a renowned interpreter of Wilson’s work.
Other Festival Events
January 14-17: Gem of the Ocean (a reading), Garden Theater, 8:00 p.m. Tickets: $15.
January 15: Festival opening reception, Garden Theater, 6:00 p.m. Free.
January 13: Opening of Romare Bearden/Aminah Robinson Exhibition extended display, Columbus Museum of Art, lecture at 2:00 p.m. (Exhibit is ongoing throughout 2016.) $10 for CMA members, $20 for general public. (Museum admission is extra. It’s free for members, $14 for general public, $8 for seniors and college students, $5 for school students and free for children 5 and under.)
To learn more about the festival, visit shortnorthstage.org. For information about PNC Arts Alive and its grant recipients, visit pncartsalive.com.
About Mark Lomax
Dr. Mark Lomax, II has spent his lifetime in music. He grew up singing and playing drums for his mother’s choirs, and by the age of 14, he began developing jazz credentials. He has performed with the Delfeayo Marsalis Sextet, Clark Terry, Marlon Jordan, Ellis Marsalis and Victor Goines, and has recorded with Billy Harper, Azar Lawrence and Bennie Maupin. According to Jazz Times, “his forceful drumming would have made Elvin Jones proud.” Lomax holds a Doctor of Music Arts degree from The Ohio State University.
About The Johnstone Fund for New Music
The Johnstone Fund for New Music was founded by Columbus community leaders Jack and Zoe Johnstone in 2008. It supports the continuing growth and vitality of contemporary classical music by funding the creation and performance of new works for a growing audience in Central Ohio.
About Short North Stage
Short North Stage is a professional regional theater company that resides at the historic Garden Theater in the Short North Arts District. Dedicated to presenting first class productions with an emphasis on musicals, it offers everything from small cabaret acts to full-scale theatrical productions.