Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Bob Brookmeyer...

"For Bob"; 6x8; oil on panel
Two posts today, gang.

The first is a tough one. I learned that this past weekend, the great jazz composer and musician Bob Brookmeyer passed away. Bob was an enormous inspiration to me in my musical life. His approach to composition and orchestration directly influenced my initial interest in those disciplines and eventually left it's indelible mark on my pursuit of them. Only Aaron Copland, Duke Ellington and John Williams were in my mind as much as Bob whenever I sat down to write.

Moreover, he was the consummate artist. His music spoke to his vision of what it meant to be a composer and like Duke, used the orchestra as an instrument to convey his intent. Never one to bow to idiomatic conventions, his music could be enormously challenging and technically taxing without ever being pretentious. But he was also capable of producing achingly sparse and subtle passages that took me months to dissect and understand.

In parallel to the visual world, Bob got the music down with a brush or knife, stick or trowel....whatever worked the best to convey his vision.

"The object, which is back of every true work of art, is the attainment of a state of being, a state of high functioning, a more than ordinary moment of existence. In such moments activity is inevitable, and whether this activity is with brush, pen, chisel, or tongue, its result is but a by-product of the state, a trace, the footprint of the state." - Robert Henri

RIP, Mr. Brookmeyer

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