CREATIVE STAGES – OBSERVE
Just before I left to go paint in the south of France I had a chance to catch Randy Napoleon at the Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe. I was put in the perfect mood to start to paint. That Wednesday evening Randy previewed his new CD, which was also a preview of the life I hope to be living in Provence. I will be in surroundings that are quiet / tranquil but can be also intense. Gentle warm breezes move the tops of the linden trees pointing you to the shadows where the most brilliantly colored flowers are hidden. Randy played all of this on Wednesday.
Randy demonstrated all the steps I hope to follow when I create my art. Randy’s guitar was properly tuned and so was Randy. He had two distinct creative processes. He had created many of the songs and that night interpreted them.
Randy Napoleon, the internationally acclaimed jazz guitarist, has a new CD out from the Detroit Music Factory. Recorded in one room, all in a single day, the album is called SOON.
The recording stands out because it’s the first time Napoleon has recorded without a piano player or organ player. The format reveals the full beauty and range of the acoustic jazz guitar.
“There is freedom, danger and opportunity,” said Napoleon of the scaled-back ensemble.
SOON is neither a themed record nor a composition project. Exploring the lesser-used format of the guitar trio, it’s stripped down to what jazz improvisers do every day: create.
“I love it when people relate to the feeling of what I play,” says Napoleon. “You find something new, and sharing that discovery with listeners is what all musicians hope for.
THE CREATIVE PROCESS
STAGE TWO – OBSERVING
On a Sunday morning in the village of Cassis, France there is almost no one out and about. The reason probably is that Cassis is a small fishing village on the Mediterranean, and has great seafood. Saturday night is a night to eat some of the fresh catch cooked by great chefs. A meal like this leads to having long conversations with plenty to drink, which can lead to rocky Sunday mornings. I was flying out of Marseille that day and got up early. I had time to go down on the beach and take one last look at the sea and the magical hazy light. One lone walker came slowly down the beach. I didn’t greet him or disturb him I just observed him. I don’t know whether he was reliving some happy moments or was still in the fog of a rough Saturday night. All I know for sure is that he was deep in his thoughts.
When I painted that moment I included the color of the region rather than the gray and rather drab morning, a morning when I had to leave this radiant place.
This act of watching and observing was very much like Randy Napoleon’s listening to Wes Montgomery, to Cole Porter and to life and sounds around him when he composes his music.
THIS WEEK AT THE DIRTY DOG:
WEDNESDAY/THURSDAY ANTHONY STANCO
FRIDAY AND SATURDAY- TIA FULLER