At the age of thirteen, I heard “A Love Supreme” by John Coltrane, and it transformed my whole way of seeing and hearing. As I grew older and my explorations of American music continued, I discovered countless other great musicians. They continue to inspire me and give me many hours of enjoyment as I live and paint. I developed this series of paintings to pay tribute to jazz artists, known and unknown, and to honor their artistic output. The series started with Duke Ellington, whom I consider the Beethoven of our time. Through Ellington, I discovered his alter ego, Billy Strayhorn, whom I compare to Mozart. I’ve found each and every one of these musicians to be a creative genius. Their compositions and performances have shaped the spirit of our culture.
These paintings are part of an ongoing series of some of my favorite players. Most of the subjects are recognizable for their contributions to modern American music. I portray the musicians against backgrounds that express my feelings about the musicians’ improvisational solos and that also attempt to capture the essence of jazz itself.
I have so far completed portraits of Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, Sarah Vaughn, Kenny Dorham, Buddy Rich, Chet Baker, Johnny Hodges, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie “Yardbird” Parker, Billie Holiday, Billy Strayhorn, Thelonious Monk, Ivie Anderson, Philly Joe Jones, John Coltrane, Bud Powell, Charlie Christian, Lester Young, Millie Jackson, Count Basie, Coleman Hawkins, Ella Fitzgerald, Clifford Brown, Roy Eldridge, Paul Chambers, Benny Goodman, Django Reinhardt, Gene Krupa, Teddy
Wilson, Gerry Mulligan, Zoot Sims, Paul Desmond, Ben Webster, Harry James, Red Garland, Gene Ramey, Buddy Tate, Budd Johnson, Arnett Cobb, and Texas blues players T-Bone Walker and Pee Wee Crayton.