Saturday, August 08, 2009

New York Art and Jazz

There she is over my shoulder, The Chrysler Building. The most beautiful building ever made, New York's finest architectural landmark and a shining example of our country's golden age where design met function and won. It only took me 40 years to stand on the Empire State Building's observation floor and take that photo.

I had an amazing trip to New York City a couple of weeks ago. Chris Minnis and I went up. All he asked was to go to Jazz Clubs at night and I was more than pleased to agree. That left my days free to do whatever I liked.

First day was the Empire State building and lot's of walking around Midtown visiting shops and local eateries. That night we went to the Village Vanguard to see the Fred Hersch Trio. NPR recorded it so you can listen for yourself:

The second day was filled with Art. We stayed in Chelsea so it was convenient to visit galleries. Many were closed in the morning. What I saw through the day largely met expectations: creative, cerebral with splashes of energy but no great surprises. My work holds up very well thank you. :) The best part of the morning was meeting two locals, Jack and Danny. They're in the quarry business and were both born and raised New Yorkers who very generously spent more than an hour talking to me about the city, growing up there and how things had changed - for the better. Danny's wife served me a great cup of coffee. It was his 45th birthday. On their insistence, I did the touristy stuff on Broadway, visiting the Ed Sullivan Theater, Central Park and 30 Rock. I capped my daytrip with a very satisfying visit to MoMA, noone to rush me. Feeling guilty afterward, I spent way too much time shopping for my family in the shop!

That night we rode the subway to Little Italy for dinner and accidentally went to Brooklyn. All ended well and we made it back for dinner at Angelo's. We got two shows in that night. The first was beyond belief, in part because I didn't know what to expect from Terence Blanchard's Quintet. Shame on me. NPR comes through again with a downloadable mp3 of his Feb show at the Vanguard.

We finished the night catching the legendary Pat Martino at the Iridium on Broadway playing with Tony Monaco. His story speaks volumes about the human mind and spirit. Check his National Jazz Museum of Harlem interviews out on Youtube.

All in all, a very inspiring two days. I videotaped constantly, people on-the-street, accidental angles, construction, traffic, things I never saw before in films.... and have been reviewing those tapes for painting ideas. So much more to see and do but it will have to wait till next time. My wife and girls will join me next summer when we visit again. Anyone want to give us their Letterman tickets?


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