Mark Lomax may be one of the last remaining musicians to subscribe to Cheikh Anta Diop’s proven theory that the African origin of civilization is the only true origin of civilization, which posits that because all civilization was originally Egyptian and dark skinned, and others developed from it including the Eurasian ones. And the vast migrations were first overland, then by small canoes before the Tectonic plates shifted and the continents were formed. And there is only one race—the human race, which was originally black. Mr. Lomax proclaims his beliefs on Isis and Osiris almost magically with his trio comprising tenor saxophonist, Edwin Bayard and bassist Dean Hulett. His music on this recording is primeval and, like John Coltrane’s music after A Love Supreme almost fiercely spiritual. The combination of Mr. Bayard’s deep and gnarled and soaring voice on the tenor saxophone combined with the rumbling of Mr. Hulett’s bass and the incessant thunder of Mr. Lomax’s drums interspersed with the crash of his cymbals like lightening produce a startling picture of the ancient Egyptian god and goddess in a brilliant flash keeps not only anthropology real but also the magnificence of idiom of African American music called jazz, alive and roaring.
To those who have no stomach for the politics of art, let them deny Duke Ellington’s “Black Brown and Beige,” or his “Creole Love Call” or the music of Louis Armstrong and the Hot Fives and Hot Sevens, or Charlie Parker’s and Dizzy Gillespie’s eternal invention: bebop; or the music of Charles Mingus and, of course Miles Davis and John Coltrane, Eric Dolphy, Don Cherry and Cecil Taylor. But most of all let them deny the African rhythms of Max Roach and Art Blakey and the poly rhythms of Elvin Jones and the orchestral splendour of Warren Smith’s battery of drums. How about denying the very heart and soul of Jazz? And Mark Lomax knows it. Not by accident did he release The State of Black America, a towering suite of songs that focussed on the bleeding heart of America apropos of African American society and its relationship with the prevalent culture of the WASP. If Mr. Lomax bares his soul through his music, it is with good reason. Racism and bigotry may be on the decline in the USA, but it still lurks under the skin of society; and if the politicians deny it then the artist will tell of its dark prevalence. Hip hop does, so why not Jazz, which gave birth to Hip Hop anyway. This is the monumental imagery of Mark Lomax’s The State of Black America and now his prequel, Isis and Osiris picks up the strains when it all—this whole mass of humanity called civilization—began.
The music begins with “Kemet” the ancient name of Egypt and the ancient Egyptian as well. The music throughout is brooding and elegant and revolves around the thunderous pulse of the album that is to follow. At four different points in time in the music on the recording, the three instruments develop the theme of celebration of the union of the two beings—Isis and Osiris. The music of the chart then unfolds to characterise “Isis” the Egyptian goddess of the polytheistic pantheon and like the goddess so is the music like the powerful rush of wind, spreading its force and roaring through the bodies of the instruments. Not only do the drums capture the splendour of the goddess that spread throughout Roman Empire—in fact all of the Greco-Roman world, but so also do saxophone and bass. It seems that the instrumentation of this trio is perfect to capture the towering spirit of Osiris and Isis. At more than some points in the recording is the music evocative of John Coltrane’s late period. Throughout it the ghost of Max Roach lurks. The structural complexity of the suite of almost 50 minutes is concentrated on the “Interludes” where each instrument introduces the thematic metamorphosis, which is given spacious reading by the performers. But most persuasive are the ensemble parts that dwell in the elan of playing that is intense and not least in the truly heart-bursting conclusion, “Resurrection.” But it is the whole of the music that gives voice to Mark Lomax’s vision that centres not only in the belief of the African origin of Jazz, but in the origin of all civilization as well.
Track List: Kemet; Interlude (bass); Isis; Interlude (drums); Osiris; Interlude (drums); Chaos; Love; Interlude (tenor saxophone); Resurrection
Personnel: Mark Lomax: drums; Edwin Bayard: tenor saxophone; Dean Hulett: bass
Label: Inarhyme Records | Release date: September 2014
About Mark Lomax II
Known as the Quincy Jones of his generation, Mark Lomax, II is quickly becoming synonymous with genre defying excellence. A master drummer, producer, composer, and lecturer Lomax creates music that uplifts and “edutains” people of all ages. Read more…