“Langston Hughes was in the center of that cultural explosion, and like many African-American artists who lived in Harlem, Hughes had dreams of living in Europe - living a life unfettered from segregation. ‘Portraits of Langston’ is a suite in six short movements, and is my take on Hughes' poetic memories of Harlem and Europe (mainly Paris). Stylistically, this work incorporates many different elements that are translated into woodwind technique: the stride piano technique, big band swing, cabaret music, Mambo, African drumming, and even traditional spirituals.”
For her recording of the suite, Coleman enlisted actor Mahershala Ali to read a Hughes poem before the music it inspired. “Portraits of Langston” is today’s Midday Masterpiece at 2:00 pm.
And tonight at 6:00pm, listen to the one-hour special "Crossings" as pianist Lara Downes hosts an hour of music by innovative Black composers as we close out Black History Month.