Dr. Mark Lomax II grew up in Blacksburg, Virginia. His earliest musical love was gospel music, and he began playing drums in his family’s church at the age of 2. By age 6, he started playing with some church choirs. Though he never received formal training growing up, he began playing professionally at the age of 12, touring with different groups by age 14. Notable artists he has worked with include Azar Lawrence, Bennie Maupin, Billy Harper, Clark Terry, Delfeayo Marsalis, Ellis Marsalis, and Nicholas Payton among many others. Lomax is also an accomplished recording artist, having released over 40 records so far in his career. His discography features a variety of unique settings, including solo improvisations, duos, trios, large ensembles and more. One of his groups, the Ogún Meji Duo, features Lomax himself and saxophonist Eddie Bayard. They have recorded 7 albums so far including Freedom Suite (2021), a tribute to the great saxophonist Sonny Rollins. Lomax and Bayard joined forces with bassist Dean Hulett to form the Mark Lomax trio, and have worked together for over 20 years. Their most recent release, Trio Plays Mingus (2022) celebrates the centennial year of jazz bassist/composer Charles Mingus.
Along with being a musician, bandleader, and recording artist, Lomax is also a highly accomplished composer, activist, and educator. His work dives deep into socio-political and spiritual aspects of African-American life, art music, and racial identity. He aims to bring communities together through the arts, even bringing virtual communities together through his weekly YouTube series Drumversations. His most ambitious work to date is a twelve album cycle entitled 400: an Afrikan Epic (first released in 2019). Split into three parts, the first two parts of the epic chronicle the history of the African diaspora from pre-colonial times, through the ma’afa period (also known as the TransAtlantic Slave Trade). The third section stretches 400 years into the future, inspiring Afro-Futuristic visions of black artists and communities healing through music.
This profile was created in 2022 as part of The Savvy Singer, an EXCEL Lab course at the University of Michigan, School of Music, Theatre, and Dance and a collaboration with the Hampsong Foundation via the Classic Song Research Initiative.
Lomax, II, Mark. “Mark Lomax, II – Bio”. Accessed 7 December, 2022.
Lomax, II, Mark. “Mark Lomax, II – Discography”. Accessed 7 December, 2022. https://marklomaxii.com/discography
Sargsyan, Simon. “Interview with Mark Lomax: My goal is to grow into the cosmic balance of mind, body and spirit: Video, new CD cover”. Jazz Blues News. June 12. 2022. Accessed 7 December, 2022.
Interview with Mark Lomax: My goal is to grow into the cosmic balance of mind, body and spirit: Video, new CD cover