Mark Lomax, II, D.M.A.
“Lomax is the rare drummer who leaves you wanting more, leading his bandmates through a strikingly terse, brilliantly counterintuitive and ultimately joyous series of explorations.”- Lucid Culture
Dr. Mark Lomax, II, critically acclaimed composer, recording artist, drummer, activist, and educator is a Wexner Center for the Arts at the Ohio State University Artist Residency 2018 Award recipient. A highly sought-after lecturer, Lomax specializes in the socio-political, and spiritual aspects of African-American art, music, race, and the usage of the arts to build community. These ideas are documented in his TED Talk Activating The Transformative Power Of Trust.
Lomax adamantly declares that “there has never been a time in his life that music was not a part of me.” Heavily influenced by his father, a pastor, and mother, a composer of gospel music, Lomax was introduced to gospel and jazz at an early age. He continued his study of gospel music with Dr. Raymond Wise, founder of the Center for the Gospel Arts.
Besides performing with gospel choirs around the country, Lomax also boasts impressive jazz credentials. He has toured with the Delfeayo Marsalis Sextet and worked with notable artists such as Clark Terry, Marlon Jordan, Azar Lawrence, Bennie Maupin, Billy Harper, Nicholas Payton, Ellis Marsalis, and Wessel Anderson, among others. Jazz Times says Lomax’s “forceful drumming would have made Elvin Jones proud.”
Dr. Lomax who was also a 2017 Denison University Mellon Artist-In-Residence, holds a Doctor of Music Arts degree in composition from The Ohio State University. He is in a very prestigious and elite group as one of 30 or so African American composers in the United States that have terminal degrees in classical music. His myriad experiences have allowed him to create a unique blend of styles in his music. Whether he’s interpreting the Negro Spiritual through jazz, arranging gospel music for a symphony orchestra, or performing his original works, his music is relevant, probing, and inspiring.
With his latest releases For Those Who Have Gone, But Still Remain and Drumversations, Lomax synthesizes all his previous experiences, in gospel music, jazz, and classical music into a powerful personal concept. “It has never been about one or the other when it comes to human experience,” Lomax says. “It is always about the whole, the ability to celebrate our differences while building upon our similarities.”
In one of the timeliest and unprecedented pieces of work of our history, Lomax will release 400: An Afrikan Epic in January 2019. This composition ambitiously tells the story of the Afrikan diaspora over the course of a 12 album cycle. It is divided into thirds and explores thousands of years of the history that is pre-colonial Afrika, the Ma’afa (400 years between 1619 and 2019), and Afro-futurism expressing a vision of what Blacks in America will heal toward in the next 400 years. The Wexner Center for the Arts is supporting the project. Quoted in a recent Columbus Monthly article Lane Czaplinski, Wexner performing arts director says, “Mark is an absolute experimentalist ... and this huge, deep project will look at the legacy of jazz from the past all the way to the future.” Lomax also calls 400: An Afrikan Epic, an opportunity to celebrate the resilience, brilliance, strength, genius, and creativity of a people who continue to endure while offering a transformative view of the future.