Click image to hear Mark's interview on Confluence Cast

Click image to hear Mark's interview on Confluence Cast


by Richard Sanford (posted 6/28/17)

There's an adage that a player can make an instrument sing but it takes an artist to make it speak. On Mark Lomax, II's new collaboration with four of Columbus' finest poets- Dionne Custer Edwards, Barbara Fant, Carnell Willoughby, and Scott Woods- Drumversations, he takes that adage to a new literal level and a new artistic space. Continue reading below the jump for our review of this remarkable record and a trailer provided by Lomax.

Drumversations is one of the finest examples of blending the human voice and the drum in duet. The words never prop up the drums here and the drums are never solely accompaniment. Lomax again asserts himself as our finest working composer. He builds percussive soundscapes that could stand on their own while always trusting the words of the poets to stand on their own as well. These two elements tease out the best in one another, challenge, fill their spaces and explode them to reveal new spaces.

The arc of the album masterfully slips from the interior to the exterior and knows they're never truly separate. It begins and ends with "Bless In" and "Bless Out" with Carnell Willoughby (best known as a member of the pioneering Columbus hip-hop collective S.P.I.R.I.T.). These two incantations, opening with "Hands people. Stand people. Respond to my command, people," build into statements of purpose. Willoughby speak-sings advice for living and hte quest for collective transcendence as Lomax builds the raw elements of drumming - one stick, one cymbal - into a delicate but ferocious, loose-limbed backbeat.

"Bless In" is followed immediately by what Barbara Fant calls "A celebration of Black and brown people," "Magic Before." Fant interrogates the use of "magic" to exoticize and dehumanize while asserting a humanity and a superhuman strength. Her metaphors and rich rhythm slip over and through Lomax's sparse drumming. He creates rumbling, tectonic shifts of toms and splashing, slashing cymbals beneath Fant's "Teaching the moon to dance and bid her dust in the shape of an eye" and unleashes a tumbling procession around and over and under her inversion of the dozens into affirmation. Fant's other piece, "House of Dust" talks of living "in the staccato" as Lomax's drums echo and subvert that word. Together, they peel back the raw flesh of life and find a bitterly-fought and hard-won forgiveness at the heart of living well.

Dionne Custer Edwards' two piece feature wider swaths of negative space for Lomax to stretch out. Lomax takes us through the history of great drumming in these lustrous solos, reminding me more of Milford Graves than I've heard in his playing before. Edwards has a Baraka-esque love of repetition, luxuriating in the sensuous feeling of words while exposing every facet of meaning without ever being obvious. The heartbreaking "Skyward" wrings every ounce of pain from simple phrases like "We collect ourselves" and "do something about this tangled mess."

Scott Woods' two pieces are the centerpiece of Drumversations. The first, "A Bad Peace," includes a "Part 1" solo track from Lomax who splinters a slow march and makes it shine like stained glass. Less of an intro and more of a thesis statement. By the time Scott's voice appears for "Part 2," the complicated groundwork has been laid for the interrogation of the Benjamin Franklin - "May I call you Ben?" - "truism" "There never was a good war or a bad peace." Woods' vivisection of conventional wisdom and "good intentions," opens with "What if your peace is a war?" and never lets the throttle down. "A 'some of my best friends are good wars' peace?"

The recorded-with-a-live-audience elements only assert themselves a few times on this beautifully produced (by Lomax) and mastered (Storm 9000) [recording]. The exceptions are striking. My favorite is a spontaneous moment featuring one woman, clear as day, cheering Woods on and then one person clapping before falling back into silence. It's a demonstration of loud and quiet engagement reminding the stodgier among us that both sides of the same respect. That moment makes the listener want to throw their fists in the air because we've all been that person when the right poet reads.

When I interviewed Woods about his month-long Holler project he brought up the premier of the "A Bad Peace" collaboration in the context of his renowned artistic risk-taking. "I wanted to prove I could get people in the door for a show with one composition and one poem and have them leave satisfied. But it had to be the best poem I wrote all year." For a poet who has been making my jaw drop for about 15 years at this point, and who had a huge part in the current flowering of local poetry, Woods succeded here in spades. His two poems, the acid "What You Smiling For?" is a more typical duet with Lomax's most sinuous and sinister drumming on this record, might be the best documentation of his work.

There isn't a bad track on Drumversations. It's a brilliant introduction to Lomax's compositions and percussion in its purest sense and a sampler of the range of poetic voices Columbus is lucky to host.

Click on image for more information!

Click on image for more information!

Blues In August review in JazzColumbus by Andrew Patton

I had a fantastic Jazz Night Out when I saw the Mark Lomax Septet play the Garden Theatre on Wednesday the 17th. The concert marked the premiere of Dr. Lomax’s new composition Blues In August, created in conjunction with the Short North Stage’s August Wilson festival. A celebrated composer orchestrating the meeting of an intimately acquainted jazz trio and an accomplished string quartet set the stage for endless possibilities, and the resulting collaboration realized an exciting sonic universe. Lomax opened the first movement with a mallet solo on the drum set where he brought spiritual melodies to life, and saxophonist Eddie Bayard later played a soulful solo that combined with the string section’s accompaniment for a stirring passage.

It was great to see bassist Dean Hulett back in town from San Diego, as his playing was broad, passionate, and often humorous, especially when trading bars with Lomax before the drummer performed his own comedic act of “clumsy” drumstick handling. Violinist Andy Carlson’s leading role in gypsy jazz outfit SpeakEasy shone through in several places, especially on a rootsy swinging solo of his own. The hour-long suite had plentiful thrilling moments, but my personal favorite was likely the string quartet plucking their instruments in the final movement, creating an ethereal “raindrop” effect while Bayard conjured a deep, dark sky with his artful blowing. This was a performance not to be missed. Lomax christened the group the “Urban Art Ensemble” after the concert – hopefully the septet returns to a local stage soon!

Click on image for more information!

Click on image for more information!

Locals: Ancient cosmology inspires Mark Lomax’s “Song of the Dogon”

From the June 2, 2016 edition

If you’ve ever craned your neck toward the sky on a clear night, you’ve likely seen Sirius, the brightest star. Actually, it’s a pair of stars — Sirius A and Sirius B — but without a telescope, it looks like a single, glowing dot.

And yet, somehow the Dogon people, an ancient civilization that now resides in Mali, reportedly knew about Sirius B long before they had access to telescopic technology.

Jazz drummer Mark Lomax, who holds a doctor of music arts degree from Ohio State, has been researching the Dogon for the last few years, so when the Wexner Center asked him to write a new piece to perform, he took inspiration from the cosmology and spirituality of that ancient culture to create “Song of the Dogon,” a seven-movement suite he’ll perform as a trio with saxophonist Edwin Bayard and pianist Dr. William Menefield on Friday, June 3. (The performance also doubles as a release show for Lomax’s two new albums, Blues People and The Art of Sound.)

“[The Dogon] didn’t keep records like Western culture does with books. It was passed down orally, but it’s very specific the way they do it — how the integrity of the wisdom system has been maintained for thousands of years,” Lomax said. “They’re not materialistically wealthy from a Western perspective; you see abject poverty. And yet they have this very profound system of knowledge that guides their daily lives and all their interactions.”

In the same way the Dogon people reflect their belief system in every aspect of their lives, from building homes to filling a bucket of water, the music Lomax creates is full of purpose. Lomax, who previously worked with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Columbus and is now a community research and grants management officer at the Columbus Foundation, is “vehemently against” art for art’s sake.

“My work, from my very first album when I was 19, is about optimizing human potential through narrative that’s specific to the African and African-American experience,” Lomax said, “because I think by telling our stories, not only do we learn more about each other, but we come to see each other as more human. … I hope the work we do is one that helps people turn within themselves and ask questions to make them better people. Everything you do should have that purpose in it.”

In writing “Song of the Dogon,” Lomax investigated recordings of traditional Dogon music. “I sat with that and learned a lot in terms of how they understand rhythm and melody,” said Lomax, who’s never been comfortable with the idea that a drummer should be a metronome. “For 20 years as a drummer, I’ve been trying to achieve a rhythmic expression that flows but doesn’t feel like a clock. Growing up playing funk and gospel, your job is to be a clock, which is why I stopped playing that music. It never felt natural to me. In listening to the Dogon and other traditional music, I heard a rhythmic sensibility that matched the innate sense I have as a drummer.”

Lomax will record “Song of the Dogon” later this month, but it likely won’t see release until 2019, when he plans to release 12 albums to commemorate 400 years of African-American survival in North America. Over the span of a dozen records, possibly packaged as a box set with accompanying essays, Lomax hopes to “tell the story of who we are and offer something for what we could be,” he said. “If we don’t tell our stories, who will?”


Blues People Review by Andrew Patton (JazzColumbus)

I had some wonderful
Jazz Nights Out last week that heated up the cold winter season. On Wednesday, January 13th, I saw the Dr. Mark Lomax Trio perform Blues People at the Garden Theater. A capacity crowd gathered into the performance space and became what felt like a temporary community for an intimate, one-of-a-kind experience. Each of the seven movements of Lomax’s composition flowed seamlessly into the next, resulting in a continuous hour of powerful music. While much of the performance could be categorized as improvised free jazz, there were elements of many styles that created moments that many music fans could appreciate, like passages of post-bop, funk, and gospel.

Lomax opened the piece with a gradually building solo, including some melodic mallet work. Tenor saxophonist Eddie Bayard came in with a wistful sound, but soon began to blow with his considerable might. Pianist Dr. William Menefield’s entrance started with a tropical strut that then swiftly mutated to contemplation and then rhythmic pulsing. Moods and themes came and went throughout the work, including quotes of the spiritual “Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child” and Lomax’s own #BLACKLIVESMATTER – the resonating, uncomfortable moment that juxtaposes the majesty of “America the Beautiful” with harsh, noisy blowing from Bayard. Despite the heaviness of the work, the trio often exhibited a contagious joy, especially Lomax, both during his own playing and in his recognition of (and amazement from) his colleague’s talents. Lomax’s effort here was awe-inspiring – at this point I can only urge that you catch his premiere performance of Blues in August, also part of the year-long August Wilson festival, back at the Garden Theater on August 17th.

Up To The Boiling Point

Cry resounded sharply today, sending the roofs back to a period when jazz was uniquely responsive to society's upheaval, when the music was used as comment, protest, lament and reflection on African Americans situation. I have talked to some who have difficulty putting themselves into modern jazz, partly because they feel that it no longer has such a connection to the community. Jazz has become too abstract, too elusive and too concerned with their own world.

Now I am even of the opinion that jazz and music in general, do not need to be explicitly political or politically motivated for it to be perceived as powerful, vital and important, but I have a certain understanding of objection. In many other genres we've done recently also appeared to differently. It was then also added evident last year in the wake of the shots that killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and too many similar examples, and the emergence of protest movement Black Live Matter.

By extension the term was Black Music Matters launched, including by Jason King in Slate Magazine The Music Club in 2014, with D'Angelos when blood fresh "Black Messiah" as one of the premier examples- as much because of its aura and legacy of a time of socially engaged soul and funk, as the actual topics it took up. Anyway, African-American music savored anew to have political clout.
With jazz there for a while seemed to be different. But silent, it has not been. World Saxophone Quartet had already in 2006 "Political Blues" in the wake of Katrina and frustration over Bush administration. Benn Allison mocks the latter bunch of "Little Things Run the World," and Tarbaby struck hard about in several directions at "The End Of Fear." And then one drummer Mark Lomax, II, and his explosive trio album "The State of Black America" ​​from 2010.

Lomax released a new trio album last year, but it's recording "#BLACKLIVESMATTER" together with tenor saxophonist Edwin Bayard that he again gives himself musically tackle society's condition. During album three extended cuts improvises the two with recordings of political speeches, among others Malcom X and Martin Luther King, Jr., as a springboard. On The aperture "#BLACKLIVESMATTER: Amerikkka" brings Lomax’ drums, in line with the outrageous speech in the foreground, the temperature up to the boiling-point- before Bayard enters, powerful, easy shrill, and with ever harsher saxophone tones so that the illusion of "America the Beautiful "is broken up not unlike what Jimi Hendrix did with "Star Spangled Banner” at Woodstock in 1969- and expires in freedom.

It rumbles and pulsates, it's frantic shouting, but also melodic and resonating. Especially on closing "Black, Beautiful, & Powerful" has Bayard a clear gospel-like feel in saxophone phrasing.

The sparse drums and saxophone - combo seems somehow vulnerable, almost naked, but leads simultaneously to a brute force.

The music is a fresh and burning date, and its mixtape-style free release via the web shows a kinship to contemporary hip-hop culture. As well as place the release musically and thematically distinct in legacy 50s and 60s Civil Rights- related jazz, and perhaps particular to Max Roach and Abbey Lincoln gripping drums and vocal duet "Triptych: Prayer/Protest/Peace" on "We Insist ! Freedom Now Suite." The context for the music is thus evident, while it is a reminder that America has a lot to learn from the future classics.

Chris Monsen
#BLACKLIVESMATTER gets reviewed in Norway by Chris Monsen

BLACKLIVESMATTER gets reviewed in Norway by Chris Monsen

Mark Lomax Trio: Isis and Osiris (2015)

By DAVE WAYNE, Published: | 537 views

4 out of 4 stars

Record collectors and DJs are fond of the term "spiritual jazz." Like most colloquialisms, its meaning is nebulous and vague; more emotional than factual, more indicative of a feeling that the music projects, as opposed to a distinct lineage or coterie of musicians. For many, the term refers to jazz that incorporates African and Middle Eastern rhythmic and harmonic concepts, the application of abstruse philosophies such as Egyptology, overt displays of religious devotion (both Christian and non-Christian), and strong ties to the Black Awareness movement. With A Love Supreme (Impulse!, 1965), John Coltrane created a sort of template for spiritual jazz, though the music of Albert Ayler, Pharoah Sanders, Alice Coltrane, and Sun Ra are no less important to its ethos. The term is a stylistic catch-all, and can refer to anything from free jazz to the creative funk-jazz of Norman Connors and Earth, Wind & Fire, to the so-called New Age music of artists such as Laraaji.

The current interest in this loosely-defined sub-genre has also led, partly, to the rediscovery and popularization of previously under-appreciated and little-known artists such as Phil Cohran, James Tatum, and Brother Ah in much the same way that the 60s blues boom in the UK led to the rediscovery of dozens of heretofore "lost" blues artists. Significantly, there are a growing number of younger jazz artists, such as Andrew Lamb, Franklin Kiermyer, Nate Birchall and Dwight Trible, working along these lines.

I mention all of this because the remarkable music of drummer / composer / educator Mark Lomax seems to be flying completely under the Spiritual Jazz radar. A native of Columbus, OH, Lomax has worked with Azar Lawrence, Billy Harper, and Delfeayo Marsalis and has led his own trios and quartets since 1999. Isis and Osiris, a follow-up to The State of Black America (Inarhyme Records, 2010), is a vibrant and utterly contemporary synthesis of post-modern jazz, Egyptology, and Black Awareness. With longtime musical associates Dean Hulett and Edwin Bayard, Lomax re-inhabits the spirit that made all those albums on Impulse!, Black Jazz, and Strata East such rewarding musical and intellectual experiences.

Conceived as a continuous suite, "Kemet" opens Isis and Osiris on a gentle, meditative note with bells, malleted toms and hand percussion framing Hulett's evocative arco bass. Throughout the album, Hulett plays an impressive variety of rhythmic, harmonic and melodic roles. His improvisations are not merely "bass solos," and cover the entire range of his instrument. About five minutes in, Bayard intones the piece's sinuous, exotic Middle Eastern sounding melody. Bayard is a big-toned, commanding player whose overall sound and approach sounds a bit like Odean Pope's: like Pope, Bayard clearly revels in the lower registers of his horn, leaping into the altissimo at crucial moments during his improvisations. Lomax is no less impressive. On "Kemet," he patiently lets the music develop at an unhurried pace, using his toms and cymbals melodically as he engages Hulett and Bayard in a musical conversation. By contrast, Lomax' careening fills and blazing pulse drive the trio into an ecstatic froth on the free-ish pieces "Isis" and "Chaos." The African-inspired "Osiris" features a wonderfully catchy melody and a fascinating drum / bass duet following in the wake of Bayard's eloquent solo. "Resurrection" is a joyful free-bop piece that closes Isis and Osiris on a friendly, exultant note.

One can only hope that Mark Lomax continues to create music in this vein. A multi-talented scholar and educator who holds a Doctorate in Music Arts from the Ohio State University, Lomax seems committed to his local scene. Even though New York City continues to be the hub of jazz activity, living and working in the sticks should not be an impediment to an artist with Lomax' skill set.

Track Listing: Kemet; Bass (Interlude); Isis; Drums (Interlude 1); Osiris; Drums (Interlude 2); Chaos; Love; Tenor Saxophone (Interlude); Resurrection.

Personnel: Mark Lomax: drums, percussion; Edwin Bayard: tenor saxophone; Dean Hulett: bass.

Record Label: Inarhyme Records, LLC


Jazz Flitz
Jazz op de plaat
De Zwarte Egyptische cultuur van het mythische gebied Kemet blijft muzikanten inspireren. Sun Ra haalde er veel van zijn eclectische wereldbeeld vandaan. Maar ook voor de jonge Ame- rikaanse drummer/bandleider Mark Lomax uit Columbus, Ohio, is het een inspiratiebron. ‘Isis & Osiris’ is een conceptalbum dat de strijd verbeeldt tussen Osiris en zijn broer Set, waarbij de liefde tussen Osiris en Isis er uiteindelijk voor zorgt dat alles wordt overwonnen. In hoeverre dit verhaal nu precies is terug te vinden in de muziek, is niet één op één duidelijk. Gelukkig maar, want dergelijke dwingende programmatische muziek leidt be- paald niet altijd tot goede muziek. Wat we horen in het spel van Lomax, saxofonist Edwin Bayard en bassist Dean Hulett is wel de diepgang van het verhaal. Het drietal kiest niet voor simplis- tische dramatiek, maar voor gedragen melodieën, majestueuze baslijnen en ritualistisch slagwerk. Veel van de nummers kennen lange rubatopassages, afgewisseld door ritmische gedeelten. De plaat die daarom als model voor dit album zou kunnen dienen, is ‘A Love Supreme’ van John Coltrane. Maar er is meer dan dat, want Lomax zoekt ook naar de connecties tussen de Arabische wereld van Egypte en de Afrikaanse van Kemet. Die komen het duidelijkst naar voren in de Arabesken in de tenorsaxmelodie van het openingsstuk ‘Kemet’, in combinatie met de Nubische ritmes die Lomax uit z’n trommels tovert.

Jazz on the plate
Black Egyptian culture of the mythical area Kemet continues to inspire musicians. Sun Ra took out much of his eclectic worldview from. But also for the young U.S. drummer / bandleader Mark Lomax from Columbus, Ohio, is a source of inspiration. "Isis and Osiris" is a concept album that portrays the battle between Osiris and his brother Set, where the love between Osiris and Isis ultimately ensures everything is overcome. Exactly how this story can be found in music, is not one single clear. Fortunately, because such a compelling programmatic music leads determined not always lead to good music. What we hear in the game of Lomax, saxophonist Edwin Bayard and bassist Dean Hulett is the depth of the story. The trio does not opt ​​for simplistic Nazi drama, but nominated melodies, bass lines and majestic ritualistic percussion. Many of the songs have long rubatopassages interspersed with rhythmic sections. The plate that is why as a model for this album could serve, 'A Love Supreme' by John Coltrane. But more than that, for Lomax also looks at the connections between the Arab world from Egypt and the African Kemet. Which come most clearly in the Arabesques in the tenorsaxmelodie of the opening piece 'Kemet', coupled with the Nubian rhythms that conjures Lomax from his drums.

Black Lives Matter: Columbus artists and musicians keeping debate alive after chants fade  


In late December, Columbus native Correy Parks found himself holed up in the darkened, unfinished basement of a dilapidated home on the city's east side, begging for his life.

“My hands is up,” he cried, his voice breaking and near hysterics. “Please don’t shoot!”

Though his words suggested a life in imminent danger, Parks, 26, was actually in the midst of recording “1 Down…1 Up,” the standout track on his just-released EP The Layover, which he laid to tape at Paper Tiger Studios over the final months of 2014. The song, like a handful on the record, takes inspiration from the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests that sprung up in the wake of several high profile incidents of black men being killed by the police, including the August 2014 death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, who was shot and killed in Ferguson, Missouri by police officer Darren Wilson.

For “1 Down…1 Up,” a visceral, open wound of a song, Parks envisioned himself standing in Brown’s shoes during those final moments when panic calcified into the awful reality he was taking his last breaths.

“I really wanted to put myself in his position. What would I be thinking?” said Parks, who is scheduled to perform as part of hip-hop monthly Knock Five at the Summit on Saturday, Feb. 21, in a mid-February interview downtown. “Social issues have always been prevalent for me, especially being of two different minorities (the rapper is of black and Asian descent). I’m 6’3” and a bigger figure, and I have a round nose and nappy, curly hair, and I’ve had experiences where I could definitely tell I was being treated differently [because of my appearance].

“Even early in high school I would get pulled over [by the police] for nothing. Sometimes when you’re young you don’t realize what’s going on, but you know something feels off. Now I’m an adult … and it’s much more real to me. This is my vessel; this is my voice. And I have a duty to speak out and try to do my part.”

Similar motivations have fueled likeminded responses among others in the local community.

In December, the King Arts Complex launched “Forceful Perceptions,” an exhibit curated by artist-in-residence David Butler, who sourced 85 works from 13 local artists, all rooted in current events plaguing the black community. The exhibit runs through Saturday, Feb. 28. Additionally, jazz musicians Eddie Bayard and Mark Lomax gathered in a Capital University recording studio on a Monday in late December to record a three-movement work entitled #BlackLivesMatter, which the duo will mark with an album release show at Kafe Kerouac on Saturday, Feb. 21. Finally, a “By Any Means Necessary” rally spearheaded by Effective Steps Towards Resistance — a newborn collective comprised of community activists, student groups and others — is scheduled to take place earlier the same afternoon at Goodale Park in the Short North.
“Although the [Black Lives Matter] movement is new, the issues that spurned the movement — police brutality and the loss of black lives without justice — have been happening for a long time,” said Nicole Barnaby, 26, a master’s student in Ohio State’s Department of African American and African Studies, and one of the organizer’s behind Saturday’s rally. “That’s why we started Effective Steps. A lot of these things are systemic and hard to address … but we wanted to create something where we could see tangible results.”

Chief among its demands, which were first presented to the Columbus Police Department following a late-November rally, the group is advocating for the establishment of an independent civilian review board that would be tasked with handling complaints about alleged police misconduct.

While activist groups have had success engaging portions of the community — a December rally on the Ohio State campus attracted roughly 200 protesters, according to a report in the Lantern — musicians, artists and other public figures (note the St. Louis Rams players who flashed the “hands up don’t shoot” gesture prior to a November NFL game, or the various NBA stars, including LeBron James, who have donned “I Can’t Breathe” T-shirts in tribute to Eric Garner, the unarmed black man who died after being put in a chokehold by an NYPD officer in July 2014) are able to keep the debate alive long after the chants fade.

“We’re placing words in the air so they won’t die,” said Butler, 31, who is displaying a handful of his own works in “Forceful Perceptions,” including the 12-foot-long painting “Open Season: The Walking Dead” that greets visitors upon entry. “We’re keeping the conversation going.”

It’s a point echoed by drummer/composer Lomax, 36, who joined tenor saxophonist Bayard, 41, for a mid-February interview at a campus coffee shop.

“Max Roach said the role of the jazz musician is to be a chronicler of his time, so if you’re a musician and you’re not playing something that reflects the time you live in, you’re not doing your job,” said Lomax, who was born in Columbus to a theologian father and a reading specialist mother. “That’s why I say I’m a shit starter. I’d rather make statements artistically that hopefully drive conversation … than go and play music everybody will love and get to eat steak at night.

“I don’t think a lot of people have that I-don’t-have-anything-to-lose mentality. They’re waiting to put out the right thing so they can get the right gig and the right car and the right girl. I’d rather work a job and be happy to release whatever it is I need to release.”

The duo’s recording, #BlackLivesMatter, holds true to these words, building from the righteous anger of opener “Amerikkka,” which hinges on a fiery sermon delivered by Chicago pastor Jeremiah Wright (“Goddamn, America!” he rages as the song reaches its climax), to the soothing balm of “Black, Beautiful & Powerful,” which incorporates snippets of Martin Luther King, Jr. at his most impassioned. “I want to get the language so right that everybody here will cry out, ‘Yes, I’m black! I’m proud of it! I’m black and beautiful!’” King booms as Lomax ushers in low, rumbling drums that mirror the aftershocks of some distant earthquake.

Throughout, the two musicians, moving with a synchronicity honed over years of playing together, incorporate a wide assortment of sounds and styles.

“If you listen to it you can hear all of black culture,” Lomax said. “There are moments that could be aleatoric music, which is a 20th century compositional technique; there are moments where you hear the black church and Eddie’s horn is kind of growling and you can hear the call-and-response from a preacher to a congregation; there are moments of hip-hop rhythm, and moments of straight-up blues.”

Thematically, however, the music is rooted in a single, uncomfortable truth: Ugly strains of racism and intolerance still linger beneath the progressive front America tends to project to the world.

“America is not what it could or should be, or what it presents itself to be,” Lomax said. “America has a lot to offer, and you have freedoms here you won’t get other places. Because of that, when something foul happens it seems isolated, and it’s easy to cognitively put that in this box. But we see things happen every day to people that look like us. Every day-and-a-half a black person, usually unarmed, is shot and killed by a cop. We get pulled over more. We get stopped more walking down the street. Every day it can’t be isolated.”

In August 2014, Bayard experienced this firsthand when a 13-person S.W.A.T. team broke down the door to his home and briefly detained him at gunpoint in what turned out to be a case of mistaken identity. “He felt like if he said the wrong thing or made the wrong move he was done right there,” Lomax said.

“We’re reverting to this disposable mindset when it comes to black bodies,” continued Butler, who utilizes painting as a means of working through his own complex emotions regarding issues of race (“You can’t just go out and be angry; you need to funnel that energy into something positive,” he said), as well as advancing the conversation among disparate groups.

In that regard, “Forceful Conversations” has cast an admirably wide net, attracting audiences ranging from a group of young offenders recently released from prison to Columbus Chief of Police Kim Jacobs, who toured the exhibit in January. All were subjected to the same, sometimes troubling images, which are designed to spark both internal and external debate about the value of black life in modern America.

“If we’re trying to teach using art as a platform then we’re not doing our jobs if we don’t make you uncomfortable,” Butler said. “Because out of discomfort comes education.”

Furthermore, both art and music offer audiences a chance to experience the world through someone else’s eyes, fostering a much-needed sense of empathy, according to Correy Parks.

“I feel like art in general is the great connector,” said the rapper, who overcame a difficult childhood growing up in Woodland Meadows, sometimes referred to by its nickname Uzi Alley, where he was exposed to everything from underground dog fights to addicts freebasing crack cocaine in the public laundry rooms of the apartment complex, which has since been torn down. “Sometimes people can’t put an issue in a light where it’s personal to them, but, as a musician, you can paint a picture and make everyone relate to these ideas.”

Though Parks started crafting his first rhymes at 22, it wasn’t until he first listened back to “1 Down…1 Up” that he realized the potential power words could carry.

“I kept the headphones on, stepped back, closed my eyes and listened to how it made me feel, and it was like, ‘This is what I’m about,’” he said. “Too often music is lacking empathy, and I wanted to make sure I felt those emotions: ‘I’m begging you right now! My hands is up! Please don’t shoot me!’

“There are some people that will post that hashtag (#BlackLivesMatter) and not do anything else. Do you really feel it? Do you feel like you matter? Even at protests we’ll say ‘black lives matter’ and someone will be like ‘everyone’s lives matter.’ I get that energy, and that’s the end game. But right now we need to build ourselves back up so people start remembering we’re all humans, and we’re a lot more alike than we are different.”

Mark Lomax & Eddie Bayard – #BLACKLIVESMATTER 

by Andrew Patton on February 18, 2015


Drummer/composer Mark Lomax and tenor saxophonist Eddie Bayard recently released #BLACKLIVESMATTER, a three part duo jazz album created in support of the #BLACKLIVESMATTER movement and in response to the recent and ongoing tragedies affecting the African-American community. The album release will be celebrated on Saturday, February 21st from 5 to 7pm at Kafe Kerouac, 2250 North High Street (North Campus). The album will be played in its entirety, with an accompanying multimedia presentation and Q&A with the artists following the performance. Tickets are $10 at the door and seating is limited, so getting there early is recommended. The album, which can be downloaded for free here (where you can also read the fantastic liner notes written by poet Scott Woods), is a powerful combination of revolutionary speeches of the last fifty years with soulfully forceful playing from Lomax and Bayard.

The insistent speech by Jeremiah Wright that is sampled to open the album sets the tone first thing – educational, slightly humorous, but, most importantly, yearning and striving for change. In Part 1, “Amerikkka,” after slowly building behind the speech, Lomax tears into a military cadence and Bayard follows with a slanted chorus of “God Bless America” before taking off into an open-ended solo. Much of the music herein, in a somewhat similar fashion to Lomax’s Isis & Osiris (2014), voyages between free jazz and a spiritual form of hard bop. The musicians toy with structures and melodies, move into more chaotic, open territory, and then return to a structure of some sort, all while staying in sync with each other. The frustration that gave rise to this project is evident in Bayard’s and Lomax’s contributions, with fierce solos and often jagged lines, but the listener can also feel the presence of a solemn hope, as melodic portions show the players’ desire for a more harmonious balance that can result from change. The positioning of a variety of sampled speeches provides a more direct presentation of the feelings on display, and drives home the themes that Bayard and Lomax are wrestling with in the studio and in life. The album shows the strength and impact that jazz (and music in general) can still have when enough skill and emotion are involved.

Below are two promotional videos to give you a taste of the album and a preview of the multimedia performance. Lomax has been busy lately – after the release of #BLACKLIVESMATTER, he then released Modern Communication in Ancient Rhythms, a 7-track, 25-minute solo drum set album that is the first in a series of solo recordings. Check out the link to sample the piece, which is available as a “Name your own price” download as well as a musical score. Stay tuned to Lomax’s website for details on future releases and performances.

Wondering Sound 

Mark Lomax Trio, Isis & Osiris: Saxophone trio that loads up with every punch thrown. Led by drummer Lomax, and including frequent collaborators Edwin Bayard on tenor sax and Dean Hulett on acoustic bass, this music echoes a late-60’s sound when hard bop was shifting into avant-garde. There’s a rawness to this music that is appealing.

Midwest Record 

MARK LOMAX TRIO/Isis & Osiris: Coming on the heels of the 150th anni of Emancipation Proclamation, one of the leading lights of modern civil rights jazz takes it upon himself to get people hip to African and Egyptian mythology letting some culture flow away from Greco-Roman mythology and letting other cultures explore their heritages. Music to accompany smoky blue lights in the basement, it's nice to let everyone know they didn't just get dumped here from somewhere in space and have backgrounds to draw on that's their own. Leader Lomax might be a drummer, but he has his crew lay the Archie Shepp on thick to really let the FUBU vibe make itself known. Heady stuff that'll take you back to the day while letting you stay right here.


Mos Eisley Music 

Dienstag, 15. Juli 2014

The Mark Lomax Trio - Isis & Osiris

Der Drummer Mark Lomax bildet zusammen mit Edwin Bayard und Dean Hulett ein dynamisches und vielseitiges Jazz Trio. Das brandneue Album "Isis & Osiris" ist eine aktuelle Geschmacksprobe des Könnens der Musiker, die durch innovatives Songwriting und Leidenschaft überzeugen.
Alle Songs auf dieser CD sind ein Beispiel für das, was wohl jedes Jazz Trio erreichen möchte: Die perfekte Balance zwischen songdienlichen Strukturen mit Melodieführung und Arrangements und auf der anderen Seite eine absolute Freiheit für jeden Instrumentalisten. Neben den angesprochenen Melodieführungen sind auch intensive Improvisationspassagen vorhanden. Diese werden durch meistens ein konstant agierendes Instrument zusammengehalten und ein absolut frei Aufspielenden. So entsteht eine Dynamik zwischen den swingenden Rhythmen, die immer frisch und kurzweilig wirkt, auch wenn die Kompositionen teilweise an der acht Minuten Grenze kratzen und manche Klänge nicht immer harmonisch klingen. Aber gerade das macht diese Musik so unberechenbar und gleichzeitig so interessant. Die zentralen Kompositionen sind zweifelsohne "Isis" und "Osiris", die perfekte Beispiele für das beschriebene Zusammenspiel sind.

The drummer Mark Lomax, together with Edwin Bayard and Dean Hulett a dynamic and versatile jazz trio. The brand new album "Isis & Osiris" is a recent taste test the skill of the musicians that are characterized by innovative songwriting and passion.
All the songs on this CD are an example of what probably want to reach every Jazz Trio: The perfect balance between relevant song structures with melodies and arrangements and on the other hand, an absolute freedom for all instrumentalists. In addition to the aforementioned melodic lines and intense improvisational passages are present. These are usually held together by a constant acting instrument and absolutely free Aufspielenden. The result is a dynamic between the swinging rhythms, always fresh and entertaining acts, even if the compositions partially scratch the eight-minute mark and sound some sounds not always harmonious. But that is what makes this music so unpredictable and yet so interesting. The main compositions are undoubtedly "Isis" and "Osiris", which are perfect examples of the interaction described.


Mark Lomax


The Mark Lomax trio Isis & Osiris InaRhyme Records ***

Drummer Mark Lomax, who has worked with Ellis Marsalis, Billy Harper, and Clark Terry and has the album The State of Black America already to his name as a leader, not so much enters the spiritual jazz domain here as plugs directly into its energy source, joined in a piano-less setting by tenor saxophonist Edwin Bayard, and by double bassist Dean Hulett on this Ancient Egypt Kemet myth-themed album of ten instrumentals the tunes all three have co-written.
Recorded in a Columbus, Ohio studio in the summer of 2012 four short interludes punctuate the main body of the album, opener ‘Kemet’ immediately a statement of intent. ‘Isis’, the most Coltranian number, sees Bayard exhibiting strong control, while Lomax practically lifts off on ‘Osiris’. The drummer-leader’s style sits firmly in the Max Roach lineage going further out on a “multi-directional” Rashied Ali-like limb on the stand-out, ‘Chaos’. On the down side it’s a little too ponderous in its less successful passages more than made up for by the abundance of more exhilarating moments elsewhere, the album catching fire ultimately on the foot-tapping ‘Resurrection.’ SG
Just released. The Mark Lomax trio, above. Photo: Inarhyme
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  • Category: Reviews
  • Published: Sat 20th Sep 2014 14:39:34




The Mark Lomax Trio: Isis and Osiris
Inarhyme Records

So many jazz trio recordings have been released during the last half-century, one struggles to imagine what could possibly be done to freshen up the idea. On Isis and Osiris, Mark Lomax offers a very compelling solution by adding conceptual imagination to stellar small-group playing. The Columbus, Ohio-based drummer/composer, who recently earned his Doctor of Music Arts degree at Ohio State University, is joined on the forty-seven-minute recording by tenor saxist Edwin Bayard and acoustic bassist Dean Hulett. Lomax draws upon the legacies of John Coltrane, Duke Ellington, and Charles Mingus in his music, and as a drummer draws inspiration from Elvin Jones and Ed Blackwell, among others. Like Max Roach and Tony Williams, Lomax approaches his kit as a musical instrument, something especially evident in his solos, which eschew grandstanding for story-telling.

Isis and Osiris, which deals mythologically with the roots of African-American culture and specifically the stories and history of Africa and its descendants (a comprehensive account by Lomax's father, Dr. Mark A. “Ogunwale” Lomax, Sr. appears in the album's liner notes), outlines a mythic fable that sees chaos in the Kemetic divine community defeated by love and culminating in resurrection—a narrative mirrored by the recording. An obvious touchstone for the project is A Love Supreme: for starters, there's Bayard's tenor, which appears to pay homage to Coltrane in certain moments; plus there's the suite-like nature of the work itself, which also invites comparison to Coltrane's still-influential opus. The structure Lomax uses is different than the one used by Coltrane, however: Isis and Osiris strikingly intersperses four improvised interludes (two for drums and one each for bass and sax) in amongst the six longer settings, a move that gives the recording a distinctive quality that elevates it above a straightforward jazz set of covers and originals. The contrast that develops from having full group pieces and solo spotlights alternate also enhances the listening experience.

Its rhythmic elements drawn from traditional Nubian rhythms, the eleven-minute “Kemet” plays like an opening ceremonial that sets the tone for the composition as a whole. At times modal in feel, the piece begins with bold percussive flourishes before Bayard enters, upping the dramatic ante with his keening tone and freeform blowing. Halfway through, the trio settles into position and the music's bluesy side moves to the fore in the pied piper-like sax melodies that lead the charge. “Isis,” built around a theme Lomax composed as a part of his wedding suite, is Coltrane-esque in both the theme itself and Bayard's robust attack. And behind the saxophonist, a ferocious Lomax generates so much heat his drumming could power an entire metropolis (the leader's a veritable inferno elsewhere, too). Interestingly, the themes driving the bluesy “Osiris” and “Love” are similarly Coltrane-esque, though in this case the composer in question is Bayard. Speaking of ferocity, there's also “Chaos,” an aptly titled group improvisation, and the wild free-bop closer “Resurrection.” In addition to being thoroughly well-executed by the trio, Isis and Osiris is striking for being such an accessible piece of work. Jazz lovers will require little effort at all to warm up to its powerful musicianship and melodic content.

November 2014


A stunning soulful and soul filled excursion. The exponential growth of this trio is amazing!
Brent Black /
A true African suite. The perfect marriage of the harmonic textures and rhythms that make up the spiritual edge of both Egyptian and African mythology. A melodic force of nature embracing a blues based bottom line and the more traditional African based polyrhythms simply amps up the intensity from their critically acclaimed 2010 release, The State of Black America.
The intensity if fierce yet the execution is precise and far reaching with a lyrical sense of purpose that is at times captivating. An ebb and flow ties this work together as interludes allow the listen to follow the melodic train of thought while the rhythmic fury swings as hard as any hard bop trio. To dissect this work would be to draw attention away from the lyrical sense of purpose. Inspirational aspects include wisdom, power and love as drawn from the cultural landscape. A conceptualized groove of exploration of music that has been attempted before but never at this high level of proficiency.  
Drummer Lomax plays with an innate finesse while saxophonist Edwin Bayard advances his own artistic voice. Bassist Dean Hulett displays an organic exploration of the rhythmic soul of this most formidable trio. To refer to Isis and Osiris as the modern day A Love Supreme might be a bit of a reach for some. Music must evolve to survive. Meet the future.
Tracks: Kemet; Interlude (Bass); Isis; Interlude (Drums); Osiris; Interlude (Drums); Chaos; Love; Interlude (Tenor Saxophone); Resurrection.
Personnel: Mark Lomax: Leader / Drums; Edwin Bayard: Tenor Saxophone; Dean Hulett: Acoustic Bass.

Jazz Da Gama 

Mark Lomax may be one of the last remaining musicians to subscribe to Cheikh Anta Diop’s proven theory that the African origin of civilization is the only true origin of civilization, which posits that because all civilization was originally Egyptian and dark skinned, and others developed from it including the Eurasian ones. And the vast migrations were first overland, then by small canoes before the Tectonic plates shifted and the continents were formed. And there is only one race—the human race, which was originally black. Mr. Lomax proclaims his beliefs on Isis and Osiris almost magically with his trio comprising tenor saxophonist, Edwin Bayard and bassist Dean Hulett. His music on this recording is primeval and, like John Coltrane’s music after A Love Supreme almost fiercely spiritual. The combination of Mr. Bayard’s deep and gnarled and soaring voice on the tenor saxophone combined with the rumbling of Mr. Hulett’s bass and the incessant thunder of Mr. Lomax’s drums interspersed with the crash of his cymbals like lightening produce a startling picture of the ancient Egyptian god and goddess in a brilliant flash keeps not only anthropology real but also the magnificence of idiom of African American music called jazz, alive and roaring.

To those who have no stomach for the politics of art, let them deny Duke Ellington’s “Black Brown and Beige,” or his “Creole Love Call” or the music of Louis Armstrong and the Hot Fives and Hot Sevens, or Charlie Parker’s and Dizzy Gillespie’s eternal invention: bebop; or the music of Charles Mingus and, of course Miles Davis and John Coltrane, Eric Dolphy, Don Cherry and Cecil Taylor. But most of all let them deny the African rhythms of Max Roach and Art Blakey and the poly rhythms of Elvin Jones and the orchestral splendour of Warren Smith’s battery of drums. How about denying the very heart and soul of Jazz? And Mark Lomax knows it. Not by accident did he release The State of Black America, a towering suite of songs that focussed on the bleeding heart of America apropos of African American society and its relationship with the prevalent culture of the WASP. If Mr. Lomax bares his soul through his music, it is with good reason. Racism and bigotry may be on the decline in the USA, but it still lurks under the skin of society; and if the politicians deny it then the artist will tell of its dark prevalence. Hip hop does, so why not Jazz, which gave birth to Hip Hop anyway. This is the monumental imagery of Mark Lomax’s The State of Black America and now his prequel, Isis and Osiris picks up the strains when it all—this whole mass of humanity called civilization—began.

The music begins with “Kemet” the ancient name of Egypt and the ancient Egyptian as well. The music throughout is brooding and elegant and revolves around the thunderous pulse of the album that is to follow. At four different points in time in the music on the recording, the three instruments develop the theme of celebration of the union of the two beings—Isis and Osiris. The music of the chart then unfolds to characterise “Isis” the Egyptian goddess of the polytheistic pantheon and like the goddess so is the music like the powerful rush of wind, spreading its force and roaring through the bodies of the instruments. Not only do the drums capture the splendour of the goddess that spread throughout Roman Empire—in fact all of the Greco-Roman world, but so also do saxophone and bass. It seems that the instrumentation of this trio is perfect to capture the towering spirit of Osiris and Isis. At more than some points in the recording is the music evocative of John Coltrane’s late period. Throughout it the ghost of Max Roach lurks. The structural complexity of the suite of almost 50 minutes is concentrated on the “Interludes” where each instrument introduces the thematic metamorphosis, which is given spacious reading by the performers. But most persuasive are the ensemble parts that dwell in the elan of playing that is intense and not least in the truly heart-bursting conclusion, “Resurrection.” But it is the whole of the music that gives voice to Mark Lomax’s vision that centres not only in the belief of the African origin of Jazz, but in the origin of all civilization as well. - Raul Da Gama

Track List: Kemet; Interlude (bass); Isis; Interlude (drums); Osiris; Interlude (drums); Chaos; Love; Interlude (tenor saxophone); Resurrection

Personnel: Mark Lomax: drums; Edwin Bayard: tenor saxophone; Dean Hulett: bass

Label: Inarhyme Records | Release date: September 2014

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Jazz Columbus 

Columbus-based drummer (as well as composer, arranger, and educator) Mark Lomax II and his trio (Eddie Bayard on tenor saxophone and Dean Hulett on bass) released their second Inarhyme Records album Isis & Osiris on September 16th. As detailed in the liner notes by Lomax and his father, Dr. Mark A. “Ogunwale” Lomax, the album is based on Lomax’s thoughts on “how great it would be to create music around Black African mythological and spiritual themes in the way that movies, music and literature have been created around the resonant themes of ancient Greece and Rome.” Isis & Osiris consists of six larger pieces that illustrate African mythological characters and action sequences, and four shorter interludes of solo improvisations by the players. The result is a cohesive body of work that tells these stories through beautifully emotional spiritual jazz.


The album opens with “Kemet,” a long, slow-building piece that eventually grows into a stately Nubian melody. The first interlude features Hulett, and his melancholy, reverberating solo sets the tone for the remainder of the interludes, as it segues perfectly from the end of “Kemet” as well as into the opening of “Isis.” “Isis,” the melody of which was originally written by Lomax for his wedding, is a dramatic tune with open-ended improvisations from all of the players. After a drum interlude, Bayard’s melody “Osiris” swings with a natural confidence over a rolling beat, aided by the warm, broad tones of Hulett’s bass. The full band tunes on the second half of the album are shorter, as the heroic characters have been introduced and are now drawn into active roles in the triumph of love over evil. The rousing finale “Resurrection” celebrates this triumph with the most traditionally swinging tune on the album, and the band transitions quite well. The tunes on Isis & Osiris ride the line between conventional bop and more open, free jazz, but the spirituality and raw emotion of the individual and group performances smooths over subgenre descriptions and crafts a body of work that manages to be both accessible and challenging for the average jazz listener.

Isis & Osiris is now available in either digital or CD form here. As Hulett recently moved to San Diego, and Lomax and Bayard maintain busy out-of-town schedules with their other projects, there is no local release party planned as of yet. The trio does aim to go on tour in 2015, so hopefully a local display of this majestic music will work out sometime soon. - Andrew Patton