The paintings in this show are the result of direct and indirect jazz music influences. Jazz is usually the background music when I paint; it helps me visualize better. Eric Jackson, RIP, the host of Eric in the Evening on GBH radio, exposed me to the expressiveness of jazz. I think it subliminally influences my work. Explicitly, some of the pieces here relate to specific pieces of music.
The two pieces titled after Coltrane’s Alabama came after several attempts to capture the feeling of the powerfully tragic church bombing in the segregationist South of the 1960s. When I found out Coltrane was trying to do the same thing in his beautifully solemn piece of music, the connection helped me arrive at satisfying solutions.
His Equinox is another equally beautiful work; it’s complex moods are hopefully captured here.
‘Moanin’ has this visual back and forth of orange and blue that echoes Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers’ tune of the same name.
‘Cage Fruit’ comes from Billie Holliday’s lament of lynching, Strange Fruit.
‘Bill Evans’s House’ reflects the serene recordings that belie his personal struggles.
‘Compared to What?’ relates to Les McCann’s take on the chaotic conditions, then and now, in the US of A.
Thelonius Monk is a one-off, in his own world, and led to my daughter’s love of the piano.
Finally, I worship Les Harris, Jr.’s mastery of percussion. Listening to him live thrills me. The last two blind sketches in ‘Notes’ are of him working. The others are Gray Sargent on guitar and Jeff Stout on trumpet, both terrific. Real people. Jazz.