Jane Ira Bloom Quartet Premieres "Chasing Paint" at The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston

Frank Rubolino By

Sign in to view read count
Jane Ira Bloom Quartet
Museum of Fine Arts
Houston, TX
March 9, 2002

Jane Ira Bloom composed a suite in eight movements inspired by eight paintings of Jackson Pollock. She and her quartet gave the world premiere of the work in Houston at the prestigious Museum of Fine Arts. With Fred Hersch on piano, Mark Dresser on bass, and Bobby Previte on drums, the group awed a sedate crowd with the intricacy of the composition and with the dynamics of the interspersed improvisations. Da Camera of Houston, whose main efforts lean toward classical music, sponsored the concert. I speculated that not many in the packed venue were previously familiar with Bloom's work. To complement the performance, the museum hung Pollock's multi-colored "Number Six" at the rear of the stage. It was a fitting backdrop for the involved music. Titled Chasing Paint, the suite segued through up-tempo composed segments, exciting freeform explorations, and calming ballad-style musings. Bloom frequently displayed her swirling, shifting specialty where the soprano bell alternately moved from the left microphone to the right in dashing form, which was coincidentally associable to Pollock's painting approach.

While loose structure was a natural part of the lengthy 78-minute composition, Bloom encouraged the musicians to respond to images of each of the eight paintings as a gateway to openness and free expression. Dresser was the most aggressive in this mode. He robustly took his bass to strange, exotic places in creating a masterful group of solos. Previte was sensitive initially in adding accents to the movements, but he often exploded with a barrage of sound that made one think of the way color hit the canvas of a Pollack painting. Hersch was more reserved on this occasion, adding the semblance of stability to the piece rather than freelancing, although he had several occasions when he introspectively found the inner core of the songs.

Bloom was the focal point throughout the show. She was tender, passionate, energizing, and stimulating at various points, and she masterfully directed the band through the ever-changing nature of the suite. The varied tempo shifts kept the long performance in balance, but it was the continual reaching of Bloom for new highs on the straight horn that made the project gel. The artistry of the band in performing this serious work did justice to the artistry of Pollack. It was an engrossing event.

Post a comment


View events near Houston
Jazz Near Houston
Events Guide | Venue Guide | Get App | More...

Shop Amazon



Read Charles Mingus: An Essential Top Ten Albums
Read Top Ten Kennedy Center Musical Moments
Read Dave Holland: More Than Just Notes
Read Zakir Hussain: Making Music, Part 1-2
Read Unconventional Instruments
Building a Jazz Library
Unconventional Instruments

All About Jazz needs your support

All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.