Many people ask me why I have chosen to base my current series on the sounds of Jazz.
There are many reasons. On the one hand, I simply love that sound. It can be simple or complex, uplifting or romantic, funky or full of swing, cool or pacific, but it always manages to delve somewhere deep and lift me up to places I didn’t know before.
Another reason is that Jazz for me is simply another way of saying freedom. In jazz the score is just the excuse to show each musician’s luster and skills, as well as their love for sound that is rich, expressive and unique. Since its birth, this musical manifestation has been a part of all movements that wanted to articulate people’s liberty to express themselves.
And that is want I want to do on a canvas. I want to free myself to utter what is happening to me with the score, to allow me to be deceptively wild, to look for unorthodox ways of making you feel something different, and yet to allow you also the independence to see what I see in your own way, and in your own time and leisure.
There are many stories about the importance of Jazz in the fight for freedom. Not only musical but also as an expression of liberty of thought.
One of those well known stories involves the Benny Goodman Band and their first trip to the USSR in the 1950’s. Firstly, Mr. Goodman was incredibly surprised by the huge crowds which followed him in spite of one of the toughest environments for personal freedom in the second half of the XX Century.
Here was an American icon and his sound, allowed to play in Russia just as an excuse to show openness to the outside world, and at the same time people were not being allowed to listen to his kind of “foreign capitalist corrupt music”.
His second surprise was the fact that people came to him and kept telling him how they loved his work in terms of “we love CL7943 or CL8726”.
Goodman didn’t know what they were talking about. Until someone explained to him that because his works were prohibited by the government, people referred to them by their recording label number, as a way to avoid censorship and prohibition.
He thus found that, incredibly, there were very few people as knowledgeable of all Jazz music as the Russian fans.
That in a small way was both a declaration of another triumph of the people to free themselves from an overbearing government, but also it was another triumph for Jazz music, a sound which after WWII became the music of freedom.
I don’t know if I can say that my art will one day represent as much, but I know that my aim is to make it a clear expression of the lack of restrictions I feel as I put my art across, of ideas reworked into shapes and colors without boundaries, of joy and pain and thought all intertwined into vivid and abstract melodies.
I don’t always manage to do it, but rest assured that with my Visual Jazz I am always looking for new ways to convey that improvised musicality, that different sound that strikes as offbeat first, but which with time simply becomes… just so cool.