Friday, Feb. 10, 2006
Contact: Steve Rottinghaus, Baker University director of public relations, (785) 594-8330 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Baldwin City, Kan. — The poetry of Langston Hughes, who spent his childhood in Lawrence, will join jazz and visual images during “Ask Your Mama: 12 Moods for Jazz” at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 16 at Baker University’s Rice Auditorium.

“Ask Your Mama,” part of Baker’s Artist and Lecture Series, will be presented by Southern California music professor Ron McCurdy, a former jazz director at the University of Kansas, and Minnesota professor John Wright.

The multimedia presentation is Hughes’ homage in verse and music to the struggle for artistic and social freedom in the early 1960s. McCurdy orchestrates the original musical, based on cues suggested by Hughes, drawing from blues, gospel and progressive jazz among other styles of music.

Images, projected on a screen, showcase photographs and works from Jacob Lawrence, Gordon Parks and Roman Bearden.

McCurdy was director of KU’s jazz program from 1983 to 1990. He received master’s and doctorate degrees from KU before being named KU’s distinguished alumni award winner from KU in 2001.

Wright is a professor of Afro-American and African studies and English at the University of Minnesota.

Admission for the Artist and Lecture Series event is $20 for adults and $15 for youths. Tickets are available at Baker University’s business office, Baldwin State Bank, Mid-America Bank and Kansas State Bank.