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"Jazz and Art" at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Rose Hall Includes a World Premiere
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"Jazz and Art" at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Rose Hall Includes a World Premiere

- Jazz and Cabaret Corner / In the Galleries

Jazz at Lincoln Center
Jazz and Art

Featuring the World Premiere of
Portrait in Seven Shades
By Guest Musical Director, Ted Nash

Frederick P. Rose Hall
Rose Theater
Home of Jazz at Lincoln Center

With Special Guests:
Mark O’Connor on Violin
Wycliffe Gordon on Trombone and Tuba
Yola Nash on Vocals
Bill Schimmel on Accordion

And the
Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra
Wynton Marsalis, Music Director, Trumpet
Ryan Kisor, Trumpet
Marcus Printup, Trumpet
Michael Rodriguez, Trumpet
Ted Nash, Alto and Tenor Saxes, Clarinet, Flute, Alto Flute
Sherman Irby, Alto and Soprano Saxes, Flute, Clarinet
Walter Blanding, Tenor and Soprano Saxes, Clarinet
Victor Goines, Tenor and Soprano Saxes, Flute, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet
Carl Maraghi, Baritone Sax
Chris Crenshaw, Trombone
Elliot Mason, Trombone
Vincent Gardner, Trombone
Dan Nimmer, Piano
Carlos Henriquez, Bass
Ali Jackson, Drums

Zooey Tidal: Press

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
February 22, 2007


Picasso by Coleman Hawkins
The Degas Suite by Duke Ellington
Some Circles, for Kandinsky by Maria Schneider
Cockiness for Paul Klee by Jim McNeely

Portrait in Seven Shades: by Ted Nash; Brian Beasley, Projection Design
Monet, Dali, Matisse, Picasso, Van Gogh, Chagall, Pollock.

Jazz and Art, the title of tonight’s special event and world premiere, featured the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, led by Guest Musical Director, Ted Nash (a member of this Orchestra, who plays saxophones, flutes, and clarinet), in historical jazz works, all written in homage to famous visual artists, as well as Nash’s own composition, Portrait in Seven Shades. This new work was inspired by artworks in the Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection. The seven movements of Nash’s new work are each inspired by Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, and Expressionist artists, Monet, Dali, Matisse, Picasso, Van Gogh, Chagall, and Pollock. Enlarged selections of each of the artists’ works were projected on the rear stage, while the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and special guest musicians performed the work’s seven segments. During intermission, artists from Parsons The New School for Design and The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music performed in the Rose Hall Atrium.

Jazz at Lincoln Center’s backdrop began with circles, squares, triangles, and rectangles, all in bright colors, and all creating a fanciful, brilliant tableau. Coleman Hawkins’ Picasso opened with solo sax, and it was dynamic, while setting the stage for a diverse and musically mesmerizing evening. The Ellington work, Degas Suite, was fused with a large big band sound, fancy foxtrots, and smooth brass solos. Muted trumpets, alto flute, and playful piano marked this work. Maria Schneider’s Kandinsky homage, along with Jim McNeely’s Paul Klee homage, became abstract, with a hint of New Orleans. Wycliffe Gordon’s tuba, arching above the orchestra, matched the yellow triangles and circles. In the Klee, Gordon’s rich trombone and Dan Nimmer’s staccato piano, matching racing rectangles, attracted the audience’s attention, as well as that of Wynton Marsalis, on a very busy and brilliant trumpet, who, while sitting in the rear of the orchestra, turned his head to focus on and listen to each of his musicians. The bass was prominent, accompanying piano and trumpet. A vibrant swing broke loose with explosive brass, and Rose Hall was ready for the main event.

That event was the world premiere of Ted Nash’s Portrait in Seven Shades. With backdrops of Monet’s footbridge in Giverny, his lush Reflections of Water-Lily Pond, and textured gardens of his elegant home, Brian Beasley’s projection design was immediately impressive. Throughout this premiere, the still projections closed in on details, moved sideways, and sometimes focused on detail, while the entire painting was inset, so the audience could see the whole, while also seeing the parts. A unique concept. The Monet segment included a muted trumpet, upbeat, plus Victor Goines on solo, rippling sax. When Monet’s The Japanese Footbridge was shown (in fiery colors, due to Monet’s impending blindness, late years), the flute sounded with sultry reflection. Pastels again appeared, with trees melting into lilies. The music melted as well.

For the surreal Dali segment, with melting clocks (The Persistence of Memory) and isolated columns, plus people walking with shadows, the music turned atonal and disarming. A nuanced clavé beat was detected, and a clapping sound matched canyons and clocks. Ted Nash had earlier noted that the Dali contained visual and musical elements that would be normal on their own, while uncomfortable put together. For Matisse’s Dance, large details were projected, prior to the circular arms. Steady metal drums marked a cool, jazzy dance, with much playfulness, including scintillating trumpets and Carlos Henriquez’ earthy, solo bass. Other renowned Matisse scenes, Interior with a Violin Case by an open window, as well as Goldfish and Sculpture, were shown, plus a Gothic glass window, with pink, black, and blue shimmering shapes. More explosive swing ensued.

Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, with its cubist, odd facial configurations, was heralded by Spanish trumpets and bullfight music. The painting’s dark eyes drew Nash to a Flamenco flourish, while the pink/purple faces were pronounced in projected detail. The music was passionate, yet stark. Marsalis took a wild ride on his trumpet, before straight jazz turned dissonant. Cubist details, green and black, enlarged to Picasso’s Three Musicians, with guitar, clarinet, and accordion. For Van Gogh's gnarled trees, sun, and mountains, a bluesy motif moved in. This was one moody painter and the moody music matched the image. When Starry Night replaced Olive Trees, the trumpet solo swayed. The angular church brought Yola Nash (Ted’s wife) out for her husband’s lyrics, “When I paint the sky, I wonder why you don’t see my love”. She sang with a whispery, mellow style, while Van Gogh’s stiff Self Portrait appeared.

Nash created a contrasting and deeply spiritual segment for Chagall, with Russian village scenes of street bands, a cow, a milkmaid, a horse, and a couple dancing. Bill Schimmel’s active accordion and Mark O’Connor’s sensuous violin added the exotic, Kletzmer touch, along with clarinets, flutes, and tuba. O’Connor provided a meandering melody, while the dizzying musical dervish abounded. Details of costumes, a fading violin, and a circus motif were enhanced with Schimmel’s dissonant accordion and the orchestra’s buoyant brass. The final featured artist, Jackson Pollock, was celebrated with cacophony and color. Black/white against black/orange splashes of paint glowed in the Hall’s orange spotlights. The music took off like a NY traffic jam, with horns and Ali Jackson’s percussion. Before the light dimmed, to match a darker, flowing painting, the introductory music ended in one collective blast. The paler, greenish, splotchy work was then partnered with Michael Rodriguez’ mesmerizing trumpet solo. Kudos to Ted Nash, for his charismatic composition, conducting, and musicianship (on two saxophones, two flutes, and clarinet), kudos to Mark O’Connor, Wycliffe Gordon, Yola Nash, and Bill Schimmel, and kudos to the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra for a fascinating fusion of visual and performance aesthetic.

Ted Nash and "The Starry Night", 1889
Photo courtesy of Jazz at Lincoln Center

Ted Nash and "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon", 1907
Photo courtesy of Jazz at Lincoln Center

Ted Nash and "Three Musicians", 1921
Photo courtesy of Jazz at Lincoln Center

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at