Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Top 100 2013

John Coltrane and his band
40" x 30", oil on canvas, 2013
The first painting for the Top 100 2013 series is of a John Coltrane ensemble superimposed on a backyard landscape painting. This image of Coltrane is an iconic one in the Top 100 series. I've used the image many times before, but I had never included Rashied Ali and Jimmy Garrison in any of the paintings. It is the last, and my favorite Coltrane line up. Missing in the source photo, and in the painting, is the fifth member of the quintet Alice Coltrane. At the last moment I added her grand piano to the left into the painting to give her some sort of presence. The last time I used the source photo was in 2010. This is what I wrote then:

There's one image of John Coltrane I like better than all others. I believe that this may be the eight painting I've done from a photo taken by F. Winham. I have a copy of it in the book Jazz Heroes by John Fordham. The photo shows Coltrane performing at the end of his career. Gone are the black suit and tie, gone are the conventions of the traditional jazz combo. The photo shows Coltrane with with Pharoah Sanders on tenor, bassist Jimmy Garrison, and drummer Rashied Ali, precisely the line-up I cherish most. Of the eight or so paintings from the photo I've only included Sanders a few times, Ali and Garrison remain unpainted, and now again Coltrane is singled out. Funny thing is that of all eight paintings, the one just finished, still wet, is the only one I own. The first one I painted in 2000 and it was one of the first paintings ever to sell from the Top 100 series. Apparently my audience likes this image of Coltrane just as much as I do. If the new one doesn't sell I'll keep it and it will be time to close Jazz Heroes forevermore and find myself a different Coltrane image to paint. 

The painting sold and Coltrane is back in the top 100. That track is Leo, a 45 minute extravaganza that fills up half of the 1973 album Concert in Japan (1966). As a novelty I filmed the process of making the painting. From about 10 hours of raw footage I edited this hour outtake.

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