Watch The Langston Hughes Project by Ron McCurdy Trailer

In celebration of Black History Month, Pacific Symphony is presenting Langston Hughes’ Ask Your Mama: Twelve Moods for Jazz on Sunday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. PST. Featured artists include narrator Terrence A. Carson, Ron McCurdy Quartet and Pacific Symphony led by Maestro Carl St.Clair. The event will take place at the Irvine Barclay Theatre. Thank you to our Board Members Maurice Murray and Scharrell Jackson for their support. This concert is generously sponsored by the Irvine Barclay Theatre, J.P.Morgan Chase & Co., Lendistry, Inc., PIMCO, PepsiCo, MarshMcLennan and Board Members Susan & Sam Anderson and Ginny Davies. 

Born on Feb. 1, 1901 in Joplin, Missouri, Langston Hughes was one of the leaders of the Harlem Renaissance. His first poem was published in 1921 and his first book was published in 1926. In addition to his creative work, he was also an activist. To learn more about his story and legacy, please click here.

One of the early innovators of jazz poetry, Hughes started writing the 12-part poem in segments at the Newport Jazz Festival in Rhode Island in 1960. This would be Hughes’ homage in verse and music to the struggle for artistic and social freedom at home and abroad at the beginning of the 1960s. Did you know that one of the original dedicatees was Louis Armstrong?

The evening’s program will consist of 12 different moods: Cultural Exchange, Ride Red Ride, Shade of Pigmeat, Ode To Dinah, Blues in Stereo, Horn of Plenty, Gospel Cha Cha, Is It True, Ask Your Mama, Bird in Orbit, Jazztet Muted and Show Fare, Please. The multimedia presentation features a jazz quartet, spoken-word and images from the Harlem Renaissance. The orchestral version of The Langston Hughes Project premiered in 2008 with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and rapper and television actor, Ice-T.

Watch the trailer:

To learn more about The Langston Hughes Project, please click here.