VCU department of Music
jazz3 welcome
jazz cd
singleton gift
Composition competition
Piano competition
student fund
VCU music


Jazz Day | Greater Richmond HS Jazz Band
Mary Morton Parsons Jazz Masters
Composition Competition | Piano Competition
Partners in the Arts Grant | Poster Contest | Langston Hughes Project

Langston Hughes Biography

James Langston Hughes (1902-1967) was a visionary author whose vision included a freer society for all citizens of the world, as exemplified by his hopes for African Americans in the United States. His poems, short plays, essays, and short stories outlined the human experience with remarkable economy of language: simply stated yet articulated with true artistic expression. He loved jazz and the blues, considering jazz improvisation to be the same kind of expressions frozen in time as was his own free-verse poetry.

He traveled the globe and yet was in the midst of the Harlem Renaissance, a period mid-1920s in which African American artists of all genres were flourishing in that New York neighborhood. That span of time is itself worthy of years of historical study by any aspiring artist. One web source sites his collections of poetry alone to include "The Weary Blues (1926); The Negro Mother and other Dramatic Recitations (1931); The Dream Keeper (1932); Shakespeare In Harlem (1942); Fields of Wonder (1947); One Way Ticket (1947); The First Book of Jazz (1955); Tambourines To Glory (1958); and Selected Poems (1959); The Best of Simple (1961)."

There are many biographical profiles of Hughes on the web. For a start, visit




sax player