The State of Black America

Mark Lomax, II

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Inarhyme Records is pleased to announce the release of The State of Black America, the extraordinary new CD by the Mark Lomax Trio, featuring composer/drummer Mark Lomax, II along with saxophonist Edwin Bayard and bassist Dean Hulett. They make music with a purpose, not just to entertain, but also to invite the listener on a journey towards peace and enlightenment through sound.

“As I was writing the music for this CD,” Lomax says, “I was dealing with issues of identity. I was trying to figure out what good an African American male who composed in the Western European art tradition could do for his community or the world at large.” Lomax formed his first trio, Blacklist, with Bayard in 1998. Through the years, they gained national recognition for their work with trumpeter Marlon Jordan, and most recently tenor saxophone legend Azar Lawrence. The band has undergone several personnel changes as it struggled to stay together. Then Lomax scheduled a recording session that only Bayard and the newest member of the band, bassist and composer Dean Hullett, could attend. The results reinvigorated the road-worn trio and gave birth to The Mark Lomax Trio.

“I reformed the trio because I have grown disillusioned with both the tradition of ‘art-for-art’s-sake’ and the low esteem with which African American art traditions are held in the academy,” Lomax says. “I began writing and performing music rooted in the blues tradition that gave birth to Sonny Rollins, Ornette Coleman, Max Roach, and Charles Mingus. And I felt that my music explored spiritual, philosophical, and political ideals that can unite listeners and help inspire them to realize their individual and collective potential.”

The State of Black America reflects both the spiritual and artistic concerns of Lomax, as well as the exceptional, almost telepathic rapport the trio has developed over the years. The five-movement composition creates a narrative that balances the structure of groove and swing with complete freedom.

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