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The Classics – JAZZ – Album Cover Art Exhibition – Recap

The Classics – JAZZ, as my final exhibition, was as good as I hoped it would be.  Tons of family and friends came through, Neal Becton (Som Records) and DJ 2-Tone Jones rocked jazz and jazz inspired hip hop, and the specialty drinks kept me easy.

Big shout to everyone that attended, Jeremy, Maiy, Simon and the crew at Lounge of III, Cherisse (crazy PR steez), and my past and current sponsors for supporting.

Be on the lookout for an event that’s a culmination of all of my exhibitions and be sure to check out the first track of SHAOLIN JAZZ – The 37th Chamber: Astral C.R.E.A.M – an extension of the jazz exhibition.

And for more pics click Read the rest of this entry

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SHAOLIN JAZZ – The 37th Chamber

For each of The Classics exhibitions I enlisted the services of DJ 2-Tone Jones who created a mixtape that features music from that genre.

For JAZZ, since its the last of my Album Cover Art Exhibitions, I wanted to do some different things and the mixtape was one of them – enter SHAOLIN JAZZ – The 37th Chamber.

The idea stemmed from my interview of graphic designer Logan Mills who created a series of jazz inspired Wu-Tang album covers, dubbed Wu-Note.  One of my questions references the Beatles x Wu-Tang mixtape, which he created the album cover art for, and my line of questioning sorta asks him about a jazz x Wu-Tang mix project, which he goes to say that he’d be down to create the cover art for if one exists.

After receiving that info I hit up 2-Tone – he’s down, then I go back to Logan – he’s down, and SHAOLIN JAZZ is born.

Check out the first track – Astral C.R.E.A.M. (The Pharoah Jarel Beatdown remix). Listen here and download here.  The full length album will be out shortly.

JAZZ – Reid Miles – courtesy of Wayne Adams

Reid Miles and the work he’s done for Blue Note Records and (on another level) for the identity of jazz music is perhaps more than iconic, if there’s such a thing.   The album covers that he’s crafted are considered by many to be works of art and have inspired many graphic designers and creatives alike.

Unfortunately, Reid is no longer with us and through my research I was directed, via Michael Cuscuna (Mosaic Records), to Wayne Adams who worked closely with Reid as his Photo Assistant.  Thanks again to Wayne for his time and check the read below:

How did you meet Reid Miles?

In October 1977, I was called to work for Reid as a freelance Photographer’s Assistant.  Interestingly, his photographic style was quite different at that time than when he was designing covers and occasionally taking the photographs for Blue Note Records.  His photographic style when I went to work for him was most often compared to the art of Norman Rockwell. Read the rest of this entry

JAZZ – David Muse – Jazz Radio Aficionado

In Washington, DC WPFW 89.3 FM is and has been an institution for the genre of jazz since 1977.  The essence of the independent station has encouraged and given its DJs the freedom to play all forms and artists under the genre (as well as other music), so for The Classics – JAZZ it was important for me to interview one of these jazz ambassadors.

I approached DJ 2-Tone Jones (who along with other DJs produces a weekly hip hop show on WPFW called The ILL Street Grooves) about who to interview and he immediately put me onto David Muse.  Muse (the name says it all) has a weekly jazz show on the station, has been a radio jazz DJ since the age of 13, and has a commanding knowledge of the genre’s history.  Thanks David for your time and check the read below:

Growing up, who were some of the first artists/groups that you were listening to?

My parents loved to dance, so you could hear Jimmie Lunceford, Armstrong, Lionel Hampton, Count Basie, The Duke or even a group that was well known in this area and to the Black Troops overseas that traveled with the USO, The Sweetheart of Rhythm, which was one of the hottest all female big-bands of that time. My sister and brothers had me listening to everything from Paul Robeson on wax doing “Emperor Jones”, Charles Earland, Minnie Ripperton when she was with an all girl group, Funkadelic, Betty Davis, radio drama and so many more. It did not stop with my families household, uncles, aunts and cousins always had music and the best was my cousin Bo-Peep and Diz. Spending a day with Bo-Peep, no telling who would stop by for a few hours or days could be any of the greats that came to town. One Saturday, Miles walked in. I knew who he was at a very young age. He played and my cousin recorded him on reel-to-reel that day. I never heard any of that come out on an album. Ketter Betts, Sarah Vaughn. My brother Vince would take me to one of the hottest spots while in my early teens called “Ed Murphy’s Supper Club” on Georgia Ave. in DC. Read the rest of this entry

JAZZ – Neal Becton

Went by Neal Becton’s (Som Records) place on Wed. to pick up the album covers for JAZZ, where I met his very cute family.  Like most DJs (who also own record stores) his place is centered around music and he put some cool sounds which helped going through his 1000’s of jazz albums that much easier.

I’m not going to even mention the number of records he’s amassed in his personal collection – let’s just say that the pics only show a small portion.

Click the link to see more and see you Nov. 7: Read the rest of this entry

The Classics – JAZZ – The Drink Menu

Check out the drink menu for JAZZ along with a mini retrospective of past The Classics exhibitions.

See you Sun. Nov. 7.

LOGOS – NYC Visit 2

My 2nd NYC trip (NYC trip 1) was right on time as I believe I’ve found the venue for an exhibition I’ll be doing next fall.  Really looking forward to this as many pieces are starting to fall into place.  Check the link for more pics: Read the rest of this entry

JAZZ – Blues Alley

DC is heavy with jazz history.  From the glory days of Black Broadway which held the scene down for natives such as Duke Ellington, Frank Wess and Shirley Horn, the nation’s cap has always been a haven for the genre and its artists.

With that in mind I wanted to highlight a venue that’s played a role in that history – Blues Alley.  Check the read below for a quick snapshot courtesy of Kris Ross – Manager of Blues Alley:

Can you talk about the origins of Blues Alley and how it got started?  Why Washington , DC?

Started by a clarinetist Tommy Gwaltney as a place for his band to jam

It’s a very intimate space.  Was that the intent with its design?

No, it was what was available/affordable at the time. Read the rest of this entry

JAZZ – The Art of James Terrell

I first came upon the jazz inspired work of artist James Terrell while working on When Harlem Came to Paris.  His unique style certainly separates him from the pack and when Cherisse (Boreisadirtyword) brought up the idea of having him feature his work at JAZZ it was a no brainer.

Click the link to the see more of James’ work as well as check his complete bio: Read the rest of this entry

JAZZ – Michael Cuscuna (Mosaic Records)

Mosaic Records is a powerhouse in the record industry, specifically jazz, as they produce (and have been doing so since ’83) or more accurately – they craft the definitive box sets (Mosaic is considered the originator of the category) for a number of jazz greats.  The level of detail of these collectors sets can of course be only produced by true jazz/music scientists so I was extremely happy when Michael Cuscuna (one of the founders and owners of the label) took some time out of his schedule to be interviewed.

Enjoy the read:

When you were younger who or what first introduced you to jazz?  Was the music apart of your home life?

There wasn’t much music around my house. But I loved R&B and got a learner set of drums at 11. I started to buy Gene Krupa, Buddy Rich and Max Roach records just for the drum solos. Gradually the music around the drum solos grabbed me and I was hooked on jazz.

What was it about the music that led to your “light bulb” moment where you said, “This is what I want to being for the rest of my life?”

There were certain artists like Art Blakey and John Coltrane – the power and majesty of their sounds just made me feel twice as happy and alive as I’d ever been before. I was absolutely consumed by them (and others) and knew I wanted to be close to this music forever.

Click the link for more: Read the rest of this entry