Langston Hughes’ Mama Will Teach You A Thing or Two

What do you get when you cross Langston Hughes with The Roots and vocalist de’Adre Aziza? Ask your mama.  What are the twelve moods of jazz? Ask your mama.  Where can you hear an intricate score accompanying quotes said by greats like Louis Armstrong and Bill Bojangles? Ask your mama.

Langston Hughes knew something we should all know – Mama knows best!  His collaboration with composer Laura Karpman, “Ask Your Mama: 12 Moods for Jazz,” is a seriously exciting concert that encompasses music, film, and spoken word with such guests as The Roots, conductor George Manahan, famed soprano Jessye Norman, Nnenna Freelon, and de’Adre Aziza.  Within about 90-minutes, the concert weaves its way through jazz, German song, Latin music, Middle-Eastern styles, and Afro-Cuban sounds for your listening pleasure.  It was inspired by Hughes’ unparalleled career and his experiences with music and the people that love and make it across the globe.  Started in 1961, this visual, auditory, emotional, enticing poetry-cycle was well before its time, melding the sounds and senses of both fine arts and street talk.  It’s really the sort of project you can never say enough about – there’s always some intention or meaning that you’ve run out of time (or words?) for.

To get a taste of what Langston Hughes’ mother must have taught him, “Ask Your Mama” is coming to the Hollywood Bowl tomorrow night!

Following Mr. Hughes and his crazy, visual, musical poem project is a triptych of classic jazz, if you will, on Wednesday, September 2.  Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, and Lenny White are heading to the Bowl for a musical conversation on all kinds of jazz from acoustic to electric and back again.  Their performance comes with guests artists you may have heard of like Chaka Khan, Jean Luc Ponty, and John Scofield.

Don’t worry: mama would approve if you bought tickets to both concerts.  Jazz she liked; it’s that darn rock’n’roll she thought was just noise.

“Ask Your Mama” is on at the Hollywood Bowl tomorrow night (Sunday, August 30) at 7:30pm.  Corea, Clarke, and White are performing at the Hollywood Bowl on Wednesday, September 2 at 8:00pm.  For more information, please call (323) 852-2000 or click here.

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