This week on The Scene, we were inspired by the Art and Jazz event at the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust Art Education Center, Saturday, April 13 at 5pm.
The connections between the visual arts and jazz have been strong for decades, and on this episode of he scene, we take a musical tour of albums with great artwork by names you should know, and art you almost undoubtably do.
Romare Bearden was an iconic artist and art historian, with a special affinity for African-American art and jazz. He grew up in Pittsburgh and in New York, and went to Peabody High School with Billy Eckstine.
The New York Times called him "the nation's foremost collagist. His art has been featured on many record sleeves over the years, including ones we play, here:
Branford Marsalis: Seabreeze and I’m Slappin’ on Seventh Avenue from “Romare Bearden Revealed
Billie Holiday: What A Little Moonlight Can Do and God Bless the Child from The Original Recordings
We then branched over to another artist whom you’ve seen the work of, but may not know his name. S Neil Fujita, did many record covers for Columbia Records, introducing abstract art to jazz packaging, and also did the very well-known dust jackets for the best selling books In Cold Blood and The Godfather.
We play cuts from iconic albums from 1959 that featured artwork by Fujita
Charles Mingus: Fables of Faubus from Mingus Ah Um
The Dave Brubeck Quartet: Strange Meadowlark and Take Five from Time Out
Then, we turn to an album with multiple Pittsburgh connections - one of about 50 album covers that Pittsburgh native Andy Warhol crafted over his career. Three of them were for guitarist Kenny Burrell. In this case, Blue Lights (vol 1 and 2) features Pittsburgh native, drummer Art Blakey. Trumpeter Louis Smith was also a teacher of your host, Scott Hanley.
Kenny Burrell: Rock Salt from Blue Lights, vol 2
We also get in a track from vocalist Jazzmeia Horn, coming to Pittsburgh April 19 at the August Wilson Center
The Scene - Thursdays at 6pm, Sundays at 5pm on WZUM.