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.”