Jazz performer and historian Ron McCurdy (photo courtesy of Mr. McCurdy).
Clef Notes Chicagoland Journal for the Arts
For its 30th anniversary Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute concert, Chicago Sinfonietta will present the Chicago premiere of Emmy Award-winning composer Laura Karpman’s three-time Grammy nominated masterpiece, Ask Your Mama.
The Grammy award-winning multi-media jazz and symphonic setting of Langston Hughes’ epic 1961 poem, "Ask Your Mama: 12 Moods for Jazz," journeys through time, place, and verbal expression to trace the currents of cultural diasporas and will be presented as a single composition featuring a vivid mix of opera, hot jazz, German lieder, cha-cha, patriotic songs, post- bop, Middle Eastern music and Afro-Caribbean drumming. Hughes’ words will also be amplified by spoken word artists Patricia Frazier and Kee Stein from Young Chicago Authors, archival audio and special guest performances by Tony-nominated De’Adre Aziza, renowned opera soprano Janai Brugger and six-time Grammy-nominated jazz vocalist Nnenna Freelon. Ask Your Mama made its world premiere in 2009 as part of Carnegie Hall’s Honor! Festival showcasing the cultural legacy of African-American musicians.
Ask Your Mama is sponsored in part by Exelon and PWC and will be performed twice: first in the western suburbs at Pfeiffer Concert Hall at North Central College, Naperville, Sunday, January 14 at 3 p.m., and then again in its downtown Chicago home venue of Symphony Center, Monday, January 15 at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased by calling Chicago Sinfonietta at 312-284-1554 or online at www.chicagosinfonietta.org/mlk