There wasn’t much in the way of competition, but Ice-T’s making sure no gangsta rapper has ever done more to promote the literary world than him. Not only is he planning a documentary about Iceberg Slim, whose memoirs and novels inspired his own moniker, the Law & Order: Special Victims Unit star will perform Langston Hughes’ epic “Ask Your Mama: Twelve Moods for Jazz” alongside the McCurdy/Wright Jazz Quartet and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. Has there ever been a notorious, transgessive figure in pop music that did not eventually become a respected patron of the fine arts? (Not sure if G.G. Allin counts.)
This inspiring cutting edge multimedia presentation will feature dramatic narration by Ice-T of Hughes’ poetic masterwork set to music that was composed and orchestrated by Dr. Ronald McCurdy. McCurdy, founder of the project, composed the scores based on musical cues suggested in notes written by the poet.
Ice-T and the ISO will be joined by the McCurdy/Wright Jazz Quartet to create the first-ever performance of the Langston Hughes Project for orchestra. . To accent the program, images by African-American artists and photographers Jacob Lawrence, Gordon Parks, and Romare Bearden of the Harlem Renaissance will be projected on a large screen above the stage, linking the music and poetry to express Hughes’ vision of the global struggle for freedom in the early 1960s. The production brings to light Langston Hughes at his best: insightful, wise, poignant, soulful, and witty. The concert will be conducted by David Spears.
Commenting on his role in the world premiere of this project, Ice-T said, “It is a great honor to perform with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and Ron McCurdy for this landmark event celebrating the brilliance of Langston Hughes.”