Ask Your Mama – Langston Hughes, Laura Karpman

Genre: Jazz/Avante/Spoken Word

It is my ABSOLUTE pleasure to recommend “Ask Your Mama”. We got spoken word y’alls!

Ask Your Mama is a presentation of the 12 part 1961 poem of the same name, written by Langston Hughes. This album takes no prisoners, sampling decades of music, styles, even raw mediums – all to support the central poem, as read by a large selection of artists. As such, this album is not consistently jazzy, classical, or what have you. Powerful as it is varied, Ask Your Mama may not be for casual consumption – a feel good romp this is not, delving into the rage, exasperation, shame, and loneliness of living as a black person in America. Every track is quality though so play the hell out of this two-CD set!

This poem, being written in the 60’s, refers to people of color as Negros. This shouldn’t be surprising, but if you plan on playing in a more casual set you may want to preface/explain

Recs: Shades of Pigmeat (got an early hiphop feel to it at first), Ode to Dinnah (more classical, Gershwin style orchestration), Horn of Plenty (chantwork, tight, hip-hop feel), Is It True? (Pure spoken word!), Bird in Orbit (Jazzy as all getout, into classical, into straight up gospel, back into jazz)

FCC: Clean

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