[JPL] Picasso/tradition

Tom Reney tr at wfcr.org
Sun Jul 30 10:52:32 EDT 2006

Just dug the coincidence between a point made by Rick McLaughlin and 
something I sent to JPL on April 8, 2004.

In a report on my trip to Spain last month with a group of WFCR listeners to 
attend the Terrassa Jazz Festival, I wrote about the Picasso Museum in 
Barcelona.  Here is a jazz-related excerpt:

"Barcelona highlights included the Picasso Museum, which houses Pablo's 
early work from his formative years in Barcelona in a series of three 
ancient mansions in the Gothic Quarter.  It was exciting to see such a 
concentration of Picasso's work from this period, much of it done while he 
was in his mid-teens, and extensive holdings from his Blue and Rose periods 
when he was in his early 20's.  More than ever before, I was impressed with 
Pablo's complete mastery of Western art through the end of the 19th C.  His 
breakthrough work in something as fresh and innovative as Cubism seems 
particularly inevitable when seen in this context.  I found this analogous 
to Bebop, in that the early mastery that Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie 
had achieved in the idiom of Swing required them to develop a new style that 
went beyond their own precocious brilliance, not to mention the perfection 
of Lester Young and Coleman Hawkins, Basie, Billie, and Duke."

I send this along because last night, Charlie Rose interviewed Wynton 
Marsalis on his PBS talk show.  At one point, Rose suggested that whenever 
Wynton plays something, he's assuming his unique role as "protector" of 
jazz.  Wynton's reply impressed me.  He said that "every artist is a 
protector of his art form every time he plays," or writes, paints, dances or 
does whatever his medium requires.  To underscore this, he quoted Picasso, 
who said, "If they bomb the Louvre, call me.  I'll reproduce everything that 
was destroyed."

Tom Reney
"Jazz à la Mode"
Monday-Thursday, 8 p.m.-Midnight

WFCR 88.5 FM
NPR News and Music for Western New England
Hampshire House
131 County Circle
Amherst, MA 01003-9257

tr at wfcr.org

----- Re: Braxton et al.  Ok, now here's a very interesting question.  Does 
matter whether or not some of our favorite improvisers are able to play in
the style, as a part of the tradition, instead of against it or outside of
it or whatever?  Have any of you been to the Picasso museum in Barcelona?
You make your way through room after room of classical paintings, portraits,
landscapes until you finally arrive at cubism.  There's an argument for
being able to paint the tradition.  Why not be able to play it?  On the
other hand, is it possible for someone to bypass all that and still have
something valid to say?  ord.  Similarly, I prefer to hear someone like 
(Mr. Fundamentals, I hope you will agree, and I don't mean it as an insult)
play on records like Black Codes and Standard Time than hear him play an
avant garde record.  Just my personal choice.  But I hear both the Braxton
records and the Marsalis records as jazz (note to self: that comment will
probably cost me...).

Thanks again,


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