Painting Chops

October 28, 2014 9:26 PM

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Painting Chops

Before I settled on becoming a visual artist, there was a time when I wanted to be a professional musician. I joined a jazz band led by a true relic of the big band era and was introduced to freewheeling structure of jazz from one of the period's greats. I learned a lot of things (including that I don't have what it takes to be a jazz musician) but what has stuck with me are the components that are needed for jazz: understanding of structure (and "the rules") and gaining the ability/skills to invent and break the rules to come up with something extraordinary.

In a jazz chart, the band begins laying the groundwork -- establishing the beat and setting up the basic foundation upon which the soloists float their improvised creations. While this improvisation happens on the fly, its takes years of practice. You need an embedded knowledge of the chord structur...

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