Hannibal Lokumbe: 'Dear Mrs. Parks'

Dear Mrs. Parks (Naxos)

Record Review

Hannibal Lokumbe

Dear Mrs. Parks (Naxos)

America's civil rights struggle has long proved a fertile source for artistic expression, as this stirring and ambitious endeavor will attest. Acclaimed trumpeter/composer Lokumbe was commissioned by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra to write an homage to heroine Rosa Parks. Recorded live last year in the Motor City, it's largely a classical piece but bears the overt influences of gospel, blues, jazz, and African music. As early as 1974, Lokumbe was a venerated mainstay of the NYC jazz community and began experimenting with large ensembles, employing the Harlem Boys Choir on his highly regarded 1981 LP, The Angels of Atlanta. Likewise, his decadelong tenure with the incomparable composer/arranger Gil Evans informed the colors, textures, and jazz sensibilities on display here. Lokumbe's orchestral masterpiece, African Portraits, which debuted in 1990 at Carnegie Hall and has since been performed more than 200 times, is the logical precursor to this spiritually uplifting project. From the reverential opening to the thunderous finale, replete with two choirs and four solo vocalists, dear Mrs. Parks would be most proud.

***

  • Aural History

    Hannibal Lokumbe and Jeff Lofton's Jazz Traditionalism
  • Hannibal Lokumbe

    Hannibal Lokumbe and his trumpet stand at the crossroads of jazz, blues, and Jimi Hendrix
  • Jeff Lofton

    Jeff Lofton, son of an Army drill instructor, sure doesn’t play trumpet like one – or does he?

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