The starting point for this lively patterned abstraction was an earlier canvas by Stuart Davis entitled House and Street, 1931. Treating each subsequent version as a riff on a jazz theme, Davis moved further and further away from his original composition to establish independent, rhythmic color patterns that retained only a few direct visual cues to the original composition. Davis theorized that abstract compositions could communicate to the viewer something of the subject from which they were derived. This composition embodies the “mellow pad”—jazz lingo for the “cool” place to be. Jazz rhythms were a potent inspiration for Davis, and their presence added a distinctly American component to his abstractions. - Dominic Carter.
American painter Stuart Davis (1892 - 1964) was a jazz lover who was deeply impressed by Cubism, collage, and other techniques of the European avant-garde. But he didn’t want to paint like a European. He wanted his work to be about America - improvisation - fresh melodies over the continuoulsy repeating cycle of chord changes of a tune. The Mellow Pad intentionaly weaves the high cultural tone of formal abstract painting with American popular culture.
The Brooklyn Museum of Art states in the description of the work:
Mellow and pad were hipster words of the era. Thus, The Mellow Pad, a strickingly bold painting creates chaos and plays with paint the way jazz musicians play with sound. Colorful shapes vibrate and move on the canvas as if it’s a crowded dance floor, and all this jazzy energy is contained by a light blue border—which, you’ll notice, is broken here and there, as if the party might just spill into the next room.
“You’ve got to find some way of saying it without saying it.” - Duke Ellington
Mellow Pad by Stuart Davis, oil on canvas is on display at the Brooklyn Museum of Art
Nonesuch Records recently announced that the Kronos Quartet has been named the recipient of two internationally renowned awards: in the United States, the prestigious Avery Fisher Prize, awarded for outstanding achievement and excellence in music, and in Sweden, the Polar Music Prize, an international music prize awarded to individuals, groups, or institutions in recognition of exceptional achievements. No other musician or ensemble has ever won both prizes, let alone in a single year.
The Kronos Quartet consists of David Harrington on violins, John Sherba on violins, Hank Dutt on viol) and Jeffrey Zeigler on cello. They have been performing together for over thirty years and have recorded over 45 albums. Kronos’ work has also garnered numerous awards, including a Grammy for Best Chamber Music Performance (2004) and “Musicians of the Year” (2003) from Musical America.
Kronos Quartet will be honored as the 2011 Avery Fisher Prize recipient on Wednesday, June 8, at an invitational ceremony to be held at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. As the recipient of this coveted honor, Kronos receives a monetary award of $75,000. On a marble plaque in Avery Fisher Hall, Kronos Quartet’s name will join the 20 previous Prize recipients, among them Richard Goode, Nadja Salerno-Sonneberg, Edgar Meyer, Emanuel Ax, Joshua Bell, Yefim Bronfman, and Yo-Yo Ma. The prestigious Avery Fisher Prize is awarded to individual musicians or chamber ensembles who are US citizens or permanent US residents for outstanding achievement and excellence in music. For more information, visit averyfisherartistprogram.org.
The Polar Music Prize laureates were announced on Tuesday, May 3, 2011 in Sweden at the Stockholm City Hall. The 2011 Polar Prize ceremony will take place on Tuesday, August 30, at the Stockholm Concert Hall, where King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden will hand out the awards, which carry a monetary value equivalent to approximately $155,000 ($1 million Swedish Kronor). Receiving the 2011 Polar Music Prize along with Kronos Quartet is singer/songwriter/poet Patti Smith. The Polar Music Prize was founded in 1989 by the late Stig Anderson, publisher, lyricist and manager of the legendary pop group ABBA. Previous Laureates include Björk, Steve Reich, Joni Mitchell, Pierre Boulez, Bob Dylan, Renée Fleming, Valery Gergiev, B. B. King, György Ligeti, Miriam Makeba, Sonny Rollins, Ravi Shankar, Isaac Stern, and a host of others representing a wide range of countries, cultures, and continents. For more information, visit polarmusicprize.org.
Image courtesy of artist
Singer/pianist Rachelle Ferrell is one of the most lauded voices in American music. Her voice has exhilarating insturmental moments and her performances, which toot pure brilliance, are like nothing you ever experienced before.
What makes Ferrell so unique is that she helps you rediscover joy through something as simple as a song. She is real and experiments with rawness. While Ferrell is more popular on the pop scence than jazz, her devoted fans follow her to whatever venue she is appearing. This is partically due to the fact that the music veteran is one of the most distinctive vocal stylists on the set. Her sound is out of this world and Ferrell is an exceptional artist who pushes the boundaries. She can astonishly hold syllables for 10 - 15 seconds and remarkably come back into the tune and play around with the lyrics. Thus, the technical trickery is evidence of hard work.
Throughout her 2011 Dakota performance, the songstress talked about paying dues. “What some young artists,” stated Ferrell, “know nothing about.” What was an added treat was when the songbird invited performers up to the mike. What came to no surprise was that there is a lot of hidden talent tucked away in the Twin Cities, just waiting for a moment to sparkle. Local musicians were on hand to savor the moment.
To see Ferrell perform live is sacred joy. She arrived just in time to lift the spirits in one of the most intense Minnesota winters on record. The revelation occured on several occasions when she displayed her six-octave vocal range, which she gallantly weaved across music spanning R&B, pop, jazz, gospel and blues frequently dropping in eminently innovative vocal orchestrations.
The beauty of Rachelle Ferrell’s music is that no matter what language you speak, you can feel the power of the spirit. Her work is stunning, fun, imaginative and goes way beyond categories.
Members in the audience gave praise and openly sanged, “Hallelujah!”
It is nice to be in a jazz club, when church is going on.
Rachelle Ferrell is blessified!
Photo: Ron Beenen
In connection with the photography exhibition Traveling Full Circle: Frank Stewart’s Visual Music, on Friday, May 20, 2011, an illustrated panel discussion will explore the evolution of jazz photography from the early days of jazz to the present. Moderated by exhibit co-curator Robert G. O’Meally in discussion with photographer Frank Stewart, photography critic A.D. Coleman, photographer Petra Richterova PhD, and C. Daniel Dawson, exhibition co-curator.
Frank Stewart is a highly prolific photographer, who has spent the past few decades documenting jazz and blues culture, African American family and African American culinary arts and has documented and presented a series of works that celebrating a myriad of visual artists and poets, including: Romare Bearden, Ntozake Shange, and Langston Hughes, and Roy DeCarava.
The panel discussion will take place at 6:30 pm at The Agnes Varis and Karl Leichtman Studio at Frederick P. Rose Hall, home of Jazz at Lincoln Center, Broadway at 60th Street, New York, NY.
Traveling Full Circle: Frank Stewart’s Visual Music exhibition will be on view through August 7, 2011. The event is free and seating is open to the public on a first come, first served basis. Doors open at 6:00pm. For more information on this exhibition and panel discussion, please visit jalc.org/exhibit.
Frank Stewart’s upcoming exhibits include:
Traveling Full Circle: Frank Stewart’s Bisual Music
Jazz at Lincoln Center/Time Warnter Building
Fifth floor Atrium Gallery
10 Columbus Circle, Manhattan
Kimo Stone Gallery, Pittsburgh
Galerie Intemporel, Paris
Romare Bearden: The Last Years
July 15 - October 31, 2011
August Wilson Center for African American Culture
980 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15222-3736
September 2, 2011 - January 22, 2012
Romare Bearden: The Life
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts & Culture
551 S. Tryon Street
Charlotte, NC 28202
Legendary singer-songwriter Phoebe Snow died this morning, Tuesday, April 26, at 6:00 a.m. EST of complications following a massive hemorrhagic stroke she suffered on January 19, 2010. She was 60 years old.
“Our treasured icon heroically fought for almost a year-and-a-half to come back, enduring bouts of blood clots, pneumonia, and congestive heart failure, each time coming out of it, until her body finally could take it no more,” said her manager, Sue Cameron.
As a leader, master drummer, Ralph Peterson adds number 15 to his hit list with his new album, “Outer Reaches,” which also serves as the inaugural release on his Onyx Music label. In addition, the drummer recently announced a forthcoming instructional DVD, Jazz Drumming Demystified: Mechanics to Musicality, which will be available through the Jazz Heaven website.
Ralph Peterson’s Unity Project (Onyx Music) features trumpeter Josh Evans, tenor saxophonist Jovan Alexandre and Hammond B-3 organist Pat Bianchi. Together with their fearless leader, they collectively push the envelope to extremes on Outer Reaches, an exhilarating homage to Larry Young’s classic 1965 Blue Note recording Unity.
Peterson’s “On My Side” is a luxurious brushes ballad dedicated to his mother while his jaunty “An Inside Job” swings in easy midtempo fashion with Peterson providing polyrhythmic thrills along the way. Bianchi is also prominently showcased on this infectious grooving number. Peterson’s “Beyond My Wildest Dream,” dedicated to his wife Diane, is a briskly swinging number with a memorable melody. Evans, Bianchi and Peterson all deliver potent solos here.
Jazz is a male dominate culture. It is rare that you see an all-female brass band or women performing in a big band. Even in 2011, there are a handful of all-female groups on the jazz scene and fewer in management positions behind the scene, so anytime there is an opportunity to honor a woman involved in jazz music, jazz history and jazz culture, it is a moment to be celebrated.
For the 16th year, The Kennedy Center will again recognize jazz matriarchs by hosting The Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival. Artists scheduled to perform include: Terri Lyne Carrington, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Dianne Reeves, Cassandra Wilson, Janis Siegel (Manhattan Transfer), Laurel Masse, Jamie Baum, Marlena Shaw, Sherrie Maricle, Janelle Reichman, Jami Dauber, Peggy Stern, Noriko Ueda, Tomoko Ohno, and the Tia Fuller Quartet.
Throughout her musical career Mary Lou Williams, a self-taught pianist, recorded over 100 tunes and composed music for Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman. Williams formed her own record label and publishing companies, in addition to founding the Pittsburgh Jazz Festival.
The festival will take place May 19 - 21, 2011 at the Terrace Theater.Tickets range from $38 to $95. For additional information contact the Kennedy Center.
The award winning Colorado based songstress, René Marie, who found the courage to leave an abusive marriage after 23 years, asks Americans to express in a myriad of creative forms – poetry, photography, music – what it is that they love about their country in “Voice of My Beautiful Country Contest.” The grand prize winner will win an all expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. to watch the songstress perform at one of the countries finest jazz clubs in the country, Blues Alley, on July 6, 2011.
New Orleans Mardi Gras Indians
New Orleans Mardi Gras Indians