Last week Jazz ABZ opened at The Cummer Museum in Jacksonville, FL. I’d like to thank Museum Director Hope McMath and all the staff of the museum for mounting the show. The gallery looks beautiful and the opening was a wonderful experience. Over 1000 people came out, there were lots of families, and the music was great. I met some nice people and heard a lot of stories about jazz music and musicians, including a gentleman who told me he loaned Ella Fitzgerald money when her band was stranded in Boston. I was so busy, I forgot to take any pictures at the opening. I’ll be back for a talk during the Jacksonville Jazz Festival.
I noticed that there was a big drop-off in quality when you go from these 15th Century temperas on panel to those airbrush and ink jazz images.
After the opening, Jill and I drove down to Sarasota to visit the legendary Alex Steinweiss. He was exactly the way you’d like to be at 92 years old. His apartment is full of modern furniture, books and paintings, and he was full of stories. He told me that all those covers he did for Columbia Records didn’t have to get approval by anyone but him. He made the images, sent them to the printers, and they showed up in the stores.
Here’s a portrait Alex did of his beloved Boston Terrier, Maestro.
This message hangs right by the door. The person Alex talked about the most was his art teacher at Lincoln High in Brooklyn, Leon Friend, a teacher who had a huge impact on many students including another legend, Seymour Chwast.