The Ogún Meji Duo featuring Dr. Mark Lomax, II and Edwin Bayard: #BLACKLIVESMATTER

Karl Ackermann By

Sign in to view read count
The Ogún Meji Duo featuring Dr. Mark Lomax, II and Edwin Bayard: #BLACKLIVESMATTER
The Ogún Meji Duo is drummer/composer/educator Dr. Mark Lomax, II and tenor saxophonist Edwin Bayard. The pair have worked together regularly in duo, trio, and quartet settings, and notably on Lomax' groundbreaking 12-CD digital box-set 400: An Afrikan Epic (CFG Multimedia, 2019). That collection recounts the four-hundred-year history of black people in America from 1619 Jamestown to the current condition of our country. #BLACKLIVESMATTER was recorded in 2014 to memorialize the hundreds of black, unarmed Americans who lost their lives to a lingering, grotesque systemic racism. The album makes a powerful statement that could have been a response to Emmett Till in 1955 or George Floyd in 2020.

#BLACKLIVESMATTER is a three-part suite running almost forty-five minutes. It opens with "Amerikkka" and a fiery sermon/history lesson from Jeremiah Wright, President Obama's former pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. About one minute in, the toms slowly rise like an approaching storm, and Wright accelerates through a litany of governmental failings, Lomax quickens his pace. Seven-minutes in, Bayard joins with a fiercely reimagined sampling of "America, the Beautiful," breaking it down to rage and discord. "Stop Singin' and Start Swingin'" begins with the words of the late Afro-centrist psychiatrist Frances Cress Welsing, followed by Malcolm X. When the duo joins in it is with an extended and incendiary free improvisation that doesn't let up for the next ten minutes. Civil Rights activist and Black Panther Party leader Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael) picks up the narration in the final minutes of the movement. He reminds his audience that "You can only win freedom on reason" urging conscious—rather than unconscious—rebellion. The final section—"Black, Beautiful and Powerful"—is introduced with a segment of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speech given the night before he was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. Bayard's anguished tenor and Lomax' thundering drums expressing a visceral sense of desolation. MLK finishes the piece urging black Americans to secure their own emancipation.

Lomax and Bayard are wise to have let the spoken narratives interweave with their playing. It appropriately designates the human voices as the most important instruments on #BLACKLIVESMATTER. It makes the message inescapable and if that's uncomfortable to some, so be it. The suite runs counter to complacency and it does so passionately, effectively, and without reticence.

Track Listing

Part 1: Amerikkka; Part 2: Stop Singin' and Start Swingin’; “Part 3: Black, Beautiful and Powerful.


Dr. Mark Lomax, II: drums; Edwin Bayard: saxophone, tenor.

Album information

Title: #BLACKLIVESMATTER | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: CFG Multimedia



Shop Amazon


Read Blue Has A Range
Blue Has A Range
Steve Cardenas
Radio Bévort
Read Disturbed Nature
Disturbed Nature
Meerkat Parade
Read Chaos
Julius Windisch Quartet
Read Chicago Waves
Chicago Waves
Carlos Niño / Miguel Atwood-Ferguson
Read Last Desert
Last Desert
Liberty Ellman
Read Catch Me If You Can
Catch Me If You Can
Jeff Hamilton Trio

All About Jazz needs your support

All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.