Thursday, July 30, 2015

Spontaneity: Painting with Ornette Coleman & Charles Mingus

I read a piece today on Ornette Coleman, by Miles Bullough, while settling into studio.  I was fascinated to read that bop king Dizzie Gillespie didn't even think of Coleman's playing as jazz.  The article went on to explain that Coleman didn't receive any formal education and didn't follow any of the previously accepted modal and measured solos.  Rather he played what felt right and sounded right to him in a spontaneous moment.  The head, or lead in the number would play, and then the sounds would be off to run the gamut.  I slipped The Shape of Jazz to Come on today after reading the article.  There was something in that album that felt so in tune with what I am doing in the "Gridlock" Series.  It is a spontaneity, an improvisation, but not one that has definitive rules.  It is more of a puzzle, finding the right piece to fit in response to the previous shape, with some basic intent at a cohesive whole, but nothing explicit.

Coleman's wandering bars seemed like just the fit to my shapes and as I added color to finish up my pieces, I started listening to Charles Mingus, Live at Antibes, one of my favorite albums.  "Folk Forms" is one of my favorite jazz pieces.  It aspires to this same sort of mindset, I think.  Fitting the current piece with the previous piece.  Don't obsess too much about the whole, because the decisions that you make are innate.  Let the artwork or music be.

It is important for me to allow this side of my brain to be.  When I over think work or focus too definitively on the details of the work, it never seems to happen.  I create a dud.  Only when I allow my intuition to take over to I find the peace of mind to make a successful work.  The successful work is a conversation, not in words translated to paint, but in paint to paint.


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