A TRIBUTE TO DETROIT JAZZ MUSICIANS
2016 JAZZ FESTIVAL REVISITED
This will be a brief conversation this week as I have put aside for the moment a piece I was planning on Ron Carter whose image dominates this year’s Detroit Jazz Fest poster. For this poster I was asked to create an oil portrait of one of Detroit’s finest ever bass players, Ron Carter. It was a huge privilege to be associated with a genuine legend in jazz.
HERE IS THE POSTER
2016 DETROIT JAZZ FESTIVAL POSTER
As I have said before, creating the Festival’s poster is a dream assignment. Art and jazz are intimate friends. Getting the chance to actually bring jazz and art into one image is heady stuff. This is usually a chance to kick out the jams and let one’s free spirit loose.
The 2016 Jazz Festival poster was a little different. It was to become a tribute. It was to be specifically a tribute to excellence and achievement, a pictorial example of all the best in jazz.
This thought coincided with Ron Carter being the 2016 Detroit Jazz Fest Artist in Residence. Ron Carter became the subject of the painting for the poster. He certainly is an example of all that is good in jazz. He has had opportunities and surpassed any expectations with hard work. vision, strength and dignity. He is a Detroiter who comes home and helps lift up the art. A good choice. A good story. But not the whole story
WHAT THE POSTER IS ALSO ABOUT
This poster is a tribute to all the musicians in Detroit who play jazz. A tribute to artists whose music you can get lost in, music that requires hard work but is worth the effort. It is a tribute to a community that depends on one another to reach individual goals.
I didn’t know Ron Carter when I did the painting of him. I assembled the painting from other people’s images of this great musician. I know I also referenced the many Detroit musicians whom I have seen getting lost in the music.
So think of the image as a composite of all the great bass players with Detroit roots. It could have been Marion Hayden, who would look terrific on the poster.
So, I hope that if you are a Detroit jazz player you will consider this a tribute to you , your hard work, your excellence and your achievements.
I will remember the 2016 festival by a moment after the festival. It happened after Ron Carter’s Really Big Band finished playing the festival’s last performance. I had been asked to come behind the stage to say goodbye to Ron Carter. Ron gave me a warm greeting, a hug and thanked me for the painting. On the way to visit with Ron Carter I happened on Marion Hayden and then Ralphe Armstrong from whom I received the same warm greeting. Once again I was reminded that at the heart of this festival’s great success is the artists’ respect for the fans like myself and the fans’ respect for the hard work and dignity of the artists. My 2016 Detroit Jazz Festival ended on an upbeat. As I walked through the crowd to my car I saw a lot of other smiling faces. What a beautiful festival. Thanks to all involved.
COMING THIS WEEK TO THE DIRTY DOG JAZZ CAFÉ
WEDNESDAY – SATURDAY