Isis & Osiris

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Produced by Mark Lomax, II for CFG Multimedia
Executive Producers: Keith Javors and Mark Lomax, II
Recorded and mixed on August 15th, 2007 at SoundFactory, Columbus, OH
Recording Engineer: Jeff Farner
Mastered by F.C.B. Mastering, Columbus, OH
Mastering Engineer: F.C. Baster
Liner Notes: Dr. Mark A. Ogunwale Lomax, Sr.
Graphic Design: Eric Beatty, The Design Lounge, Jacksonville, FL
Photography: Don T. Grays
Publicity: Ann Braithwaite, Braithwaite & Katz
Manufacturing: Discmakers, Pennsauken, NJ
Distributed in the USA by Premiere Jazz, Premiere Music Distributors
Mark Lomax, leader/drums
Edwin Bayard, tenor saxophone
Dean Hulett, bass

Isis & Osiris_One Sheet
Isis & Osiris_Press Release

Isis & Osiris

Mark Lomax, II

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“The drummer’s music is as sharp as his perceptions are, and it swings magnificently.” — All About Jazz

The Mark Lomax Trio – with the drummer-leader joined by saxophonist Eddie Bayard and bassist Dean Hulett – have created a boldly dynamic suite on African mytho-spiritual themes with the album Isis and Osiris, to be released September 16, 2014, by Inarhyme Records. Isis and Osiris follows Lomax’s lauded 2010 album, The State of Black America – which All About Jazz declared “audacious” in bridging “the firebrand music of the 1960s from today’s world,” walking “the roads traveled by John Coltrane, Albert Ayler, Sonny Rollins, John Tchicai and Archie Shepp... to deliver an unflinching tour-de-force.”

Isis and Osiris – featuring melodies of deep-blues feeling and polyrhythms evoking Africa traditions – brims with thematic unity and improvisational fire in the spirit of John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme. The Mark Lomax Trio is a telepathic unit, colored by Bayard’s moving, muezzin-like keening, Hulett’s ever-earthy tone, and Lomax’s detail-rich drums that drive the music with a composer’s will. The tracks of the album are woven like a tapestry, with interludes that connect the sequence and feature the talents of each player solo. This is exciting, affecting music, accessible to all lovers of jazz past and present.

The release of Isis and Osiris comes just after the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation – an ideal time to reflect on the roots of African-American culture. While Greco-Roman mythology permeates the learning on which much of American culture has been based, the beautiful creativity at the heart of Egyptian and African mythology hasn’t reached the mainstream in quite the same way. Isis and Osiris is Lomax and company’s instrumental offering to help right the balance, inspired by the stories and history of Africa and its descendants. Lomax states, “Eddie and Dean are musicians who believe in the power of music to make profound statements. We’ve been performing together for more than a decade now, and I can’t think of more sympathetic artists I could be working with, musically or spiritually.”

Reflecting on the conflict and violence that seem to dominate the headlines, Lomax says: “Albert Ayler said, ‘Music is the healing power of the universe.’ That’s true in that love is what can heal the world, and music is a loving art.”

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Ancient Kemet, the Black Land or Land of the Blacks, was as mysterious as it was magical. The mystery of ancient Kemet rests in its deep spiritual complexity. There were a plethora of deities, each one with a unique role and persona, connecting human life and experience to the stellar or solar mythos depending on which priestly order was dominate at the time. Spiritual geniuses studied celestial bodies, noticed their cyclic movements and detected dynamic inner-connections between those cycles, the natural world, and human experience. Over the course of several millennia, they understood and taught the leaders, and people alike, to live in harmony with the phenomenal world - the cycles of sun, moon, and stars, the inundation of the Nile, seedtime and harvest.
Since there was no “secular” consciousness or space, the ancient Kemites spiritualized and deified moral and ethical virtues (justice, harmony, balance, truth, order, reciprocity, and propriety) that unite human beings with the phenomenal world and called them “Ma’at.” The internalization and embodiment of these values resulted in the collective/communal creative genius needed to construct temples out of stone at Karnak, the pyramids at Saqqara and Giza, and the Sphinx. Each of these creations are profoundly symbolic in the spiritual sense and speak of the union between life and death, heaven and earth, the inner and outer worlds. The Ausarian drama unfolds in the heavenly council. Osiris/Ausar was King of the living and the dead, God of the underworld, deity of renewal and

rebirth, son of Geb, the earth and Nun, the sky. Osiris/Ausar taught the human family civilization and the science of agriculture. Osiris/Ausar’s sister- wife was Isis/Aset. Isis/Aset was the Mother and Patroness of nature, friend of sinners, slaves and the oppressed. Isis/Aset was the first daughter of Geb and Nun, and mother of Horus/Heru.

Set, the brother of Osiris/Ausar and Isis/Aset, planned the assassination of Osiris/Ausar along with seventy-two coconspirators. Set constructed a box perfectly suited for Osiris/Ausar and tricked him to climb into it. When Osiris/Ausar got into the box, Set sealed it with lead and threw it into the Nile. Isis/ Aset hunted for her husband and when she found him he was already dead. Using her powers, Isis/ Aset resurrected her husband. Set saw him one day walking along the Nile, killed him, cut his body into seventy-pieces and sent them to his coconspirators. Again, Isis/Aset searched until she found all of Osiris/Ausar’s body parts except the phallus, made replicas of them and sent them to those who had been coconspirators. In the ancient Kemetic religious psyche, life and death, love and passion, resurrection and renewal all exist in the heavenly council. Just as there is an interplay between heavenly bodies and human experience in ancient Kemet, so also is there between human and divine community.

The chaos in the Kemetic divine community brought on by jealously, hatred, conspiracy and murder is defeated by love. Love is the power that overcomes hatred and continuously resurrects new life from death. Love is that power that won’t

accept negativity, violence, and murder as ultimate realities. Love is what allows Lomax, Hulett and Bayard to conjure the spirits of the ancestors, invoke the gods and usher us into the divine presence. The drums roar. The cymbals clash and resonate and our spirits are set on a firm, rhythmic foundation. The voice of the bass vibrates in frequencies so deep and wide as to settle the soul in sweet meditation. The saxophone soars and laments and laughs, petitions and praises in phrases so delightful that we are swept to heavenly heights where memory marries imagination and finds new vision. Love is that virtue that, when married to Ma’at, yanks order out to chaos, victory out of defeat, and life out of death.

Dr. Mark A.“Ogunwale” Lomax, Sr. Stone Mountain, Georgia
January 2013