Portrait in Seven Shades
Pollack was a lover of jazz. The movement I am writing for him captures the kind of jazz I think he loved, but also reflects the music of the decade during which he did most of his well known work - the '50s. The music will deal with a swinging, beatnik style. Because much of his art is abstract, the piece will strongly reflect this, with musical phrases tossed loosely on the canvas. For Monet, I have included impressionistic harmonies and solo sections. For Picasso, I first embrace his Spanish background. The music has a sense of Flamenco in it. Later the piece develops, as his art did, into cubes: the thematic material, the harmony, the voicings all deal with fourths. At the end of the movement the four different sections come together, giving an abstract climax, but resolve to a big E chord, bringing us back to Spain.
Being privileged to have played in the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra for nine years, I have gotten to know the individual members very well - their personalities, their musical strengths and preferences - and have made orchestrational and soloistic choices accordingly. I have also invited great guest soloists to perform: Mark O'Connor on violin, Bill Schimmel on accordion, Wycliffe Gordon on trombone and Yola Nash on vocals. Each musician will bring their musical sensibilities and help realize the musical objectives I have set out to accomplish.
The first half of the concert will feature existing works dedicated to painters by Duke Ellington ("Degas Suite ), Charles Mingus ("Self-Portrait in Three Colors ), Coleman Hawkins ("Picasso ), Maria Schneider ("Some Circles for Kandinsky) and Jim McNeely ("Cockiness for Klee).