By Lyn Dobrin
There is an interesting crossbreed in the art world: the jazz musician who is also a visual artist. The works of 10 such folks are on display until April 30 in Westbury. At the opening reception The Art of Jazz on April 1, the panelists talked about the relationship between their art that was displayed on the walls around the gallery and the music that they play. Prompted with questions from Marc Courtade, former Executive Director of the Huntington Arts Council, they explored the sources of their inspiration, imagination, and the role of improvisation.
Which came first, the art or the music? It varied. Pianist Chris Forbes began improvising early, first performing at age 11. He received a scholarship to study at Berklee and then went on to Julliard. He started painting in 2013 to expand his creativity, using avant-garde 1950s music. His new series, Alien Topography explores the relationship of music, line and color. “I see colors as I listen to music,” he says. Jack DeSalvo also sees colors in the music “C is yellow and G is forest green.” DeSalvo learned drawing and playing instruments—classical guitar–when he was a kid. He has performed on more than 60 albums as leader and sideman and produced almost 100 recordings. This has led to his digital album covers for the Unseen Rain Records Label. His work is presented as a slideshow at the exhibition. Denise Fusco Iacovone trained as an improvisational painter with advanced art degrees from NYU. Thirty-two years ago, she built a college-prep Arts curriculum at Xavier High School which she still runs. Iacovone paints in situ as a visual accompanist for her husbands’ musical groups. “I paint as an improviser would play,” she says. “I make the audible visible.” Tom Cabrera, a professional drummer, didn’t begin painting until he was 62, says his visual artwork has been enhanced immeasurably by the decades he spent as a professional jazz musician. “To me, brush strokes on canvas are rhythm and, in many ways, I consider my art to be a process of painting music.” Mary LaRose, a jazz singer, who also had studied painting, has appeared throughout New York doing vocal impressions of compositions by such greats as Monk, Mingus, Ornette and Braxton. She started listening to videos of musicians and found herself drawing every day. “As I listen, I let the music move my hand to express what I am feeling in my heart.”
Key points emerged during the discussion when Phil Sirois, bass player, spoke about the differences in the two practices of painting and performing. Painting is a solitary pursuit, while with music you get to take others into the creation. He said, “Music is time based but with art time can go by at any rate.”
This project is made possible with funds from the Restart NY Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature and administered by Huntington Arts Council.”
Friday, April 8 – Mary LaRose
Saturday, April 16 – The Chris Kelsey Quartet
Saturday, April 23 – The Vince Scuderi Trio
Friday, April 29 – Judi Silvano
Saturday, April 30 – Sumari Matt Lavelle
Free tickets are available on Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com/d/ny–new-cassel/westbury-arts.
Westbury Arts is located at 255 Schenck Ave., Westbury; 516-400-ARTS (2787)
Gallery hours are Fridays from 2-6 p.m. and Saturdays from noon-4 p.m.
For more scene & seen event photos visit longislandpress.com/category/scene-seen.