Ron McCurdy, professor of Jazz Studies at USC Thornton, headlines with rapper Ice-T later this month at the Barbican concert venue in London (UK) as part of the Langston Hughes Project. Together, they present a realization of poet Langston Hughes’ creative masterpiece, Ask Your Mama, the work of a major figure in African-American cultural history interpreted by a 21st-century counterpart in music. Conceived in the 1960’s but unperformed at the time of Hughes’ death in 1967, Ask Your Mama: 12 Moods for Jazz recreates a magical moment in a journey from the Harlem Renaissance through the beat poets and the birth of bebop to the looming explosion of black performance arts in the 1960s.
Dedicated to Louis Armstrong, Ask Your Mama takes the listener from the blues, gospel and New Orleans music to bebop and beyond. With a vivid visual backdrop, the performance evokes the life and times of an American icon to illuminate his vision of the struggle for freedom in the early 60’s – a message that resonates as strongly today as ever.
On the same tour, McCurdy will perform a set at the iconic jazz club in London, Ronnie Scott‘s, where he opens for groundbreaking vocal jazz artist Jose James.