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Dear Mrs. Parks - Review by Uncle Dave Lewis

Hannibal Lokumbe is a classical composer and jazz trumpeter also known by his first name only:Hannibal. In his classical compositions, Hannibal composes music that celebrates the African-American experience on its own terms, and in a wholly serious manner; it is not jazz-derived so much as it is Pan-African-American in spirit. Hannibal's previous effort, African Portraits (1995), was released by Nonesuch with much fanfare, but was ultimately criticized for eclecticism and over ambitiousness. Dear Mrs. Parks was a 2005 commission from the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and, if anything, the eclecticism is held in check; although the instrumental forces are still very large, with four soloists, two choruses, and an expanded orchestra with an added battery of percussion, Dear Mrs. Parks (2009) has a very singular purpose in mind. It is a cantata in 10 movements on Hannibal's own text in the form of letters addressed to Rosa Parks from four different characters, portrayed by soloists Janice Chandler-Eteme, Jevetta Steele, Kevin Deas, and child soprano Taylor Gardner.

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