Aural History

Hannibal Lokumbe and Jeff Lofton's Jazz Traditionalism

Aural History
Photo by John Anderson

"I don't know him," admitted Jeff Lofton of Hannibal Lokumbe a few weeks before this issue's cover shoot. "That's somebody I'd like to connect with and play with, because he's a great player and he's played with some great people." The photo op, by all accounts – Lofton and Lokumbe blowing their trumpets – was great as well. The two jazz men and their wives even have dinner plans already. Beyond that, a generation apart, their stories trace the same spine, beginning in South Carolina, stopping early at Beethoven – Ninth Symphony (Lofton) and "Ode to Joy" (Lokumbe) – lunching on John Coltrane and Miles Davis, and finishing with Duke Ellington, both interviews. Lofton: "Ellington and Sun Ra – if I could play with those two musicians that would be it. I would love to be on a bandstand with Cootie Williams [laughs]. Cootie Williams is one of my all-time trumpet-playing heroes. That sound – that sound. Nobody emulated him. Nobody even came close." Lokumbe: "The first time I met Duke was at a festival on Long Island. He and my mother were in the back of the dressing room talking. It was Valentine's Day. I'll never forget it because Duke had on these black boxer drawers with red hearts and a do-rag." Jazz's aural history begins here.

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