“An indication of where some talented musicians are taking modern Jazz today and an example of the homegrown talent being nurtured in North Carolina.”
--The Charlotte Observer
Step inside the mind of Matt Kendrick for a sonic collision of art and jazz! Art/Jazz is a unique multimedia show that enthralls and educates audiences. Performed mostly at museums and schools, Kendrick takes listeners on a journey that mixes sight and sound, art and jazz. While viewing slides of art, audience members become active participants as they are captivated by Kendrick’s original compositions and improvisations.
There’s an interactive version of Art/Jazz for children and young adults. A lesson plan is available.
Past Performances: The North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh; The Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte; The Hunter Museum of Art, Chattanooga; The Knoxville Museum of Art; The Reynolda House Museum of American Art, Winston-Salem and assorted schools.
How the Performance Works: On one side of the stage is a screen, on the other Matt’s jazz quartet. The show begins with the audience reading from the screen a powerful quote by the artist whose work is about to be viewed. Audience members then see a slide showing a work by the artist. The quartet starts to play an original composition based on the artwork.
Then the show gets even more creative. A staff member from the museum or teacher shows a slide the musicians do not know about ahead of time. It may be a piece from the museum’s collection, or perhaps by a local artist. Inspired by the artwork, the quartet improvises. Afterward, the musicians and audience discuss the improvisation process. Typically, the audience is very engaged and has a lot to say.
What Critics Are Saying:
“Just when a reviewer begins to think there's nothing new in jazz themes, here is acoustic bassist Matt Kendrick. I listened again and again to the eight original compositions while viewing high-quality color photos of the art works that inspired them.”
“Hardbop, bebop, swing, avant-garde, free jazz, everything passes by in a tasteful row…Art/Jazz is published on Kendrick's own small record label, but to me it seems very understandable for the major record companies to incorporate this band.”
“Eight challenging, highly improvised sonic canvases. Since the accompanying booklet includes full color reproductions, you too can experience the collision of sight and sound that occurred inside Kendrick's head.”
--Kendrick’s art/jazz projects are maybe a little more specifically related to a piece of visual art than Ellington’s loose gestural connections might be. But the process is still fairly elusive and slippery. When creating the art/ jazz pieces, Kendrick usually works with a gallery or museum, finding art that he connects with and then jotting down ideas from there.
“It’s kind of a bizarre process,” says Kendrick.
“What I like to do is just go to the gallery and spend time with the paintings. The ones that really seem to speak to me are the ones I choose. What happens when they speak to me, I can’t really quantify.”
The art/jazz concept gives something for audiences to look at and ponder while they listen to the music, possibly teasing out points of connection between a melodic line and a contour or composition on a canvas, or linking color schemes and harmonies, visual accents to musical ones, and so on. It also provides improvisers with a potentially provocative jumping-off point for a solo.
JOHN ADAMIAN-Yes Weekly