[Dixielandjazz] Wolpe, Bauhaus, Hindemith, Cubism, Art?

Stephen Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Wed May 28 16:41:31 PDT 2003

This is a very complicated subject. Not really OKOM. However, there
seemed to be a connection between modern art and modern music. It was
very evident in New York City in the 50s and 60s when avant garde music
was just beginning.

If you went to the Five Spot in Cooper Square, NYC to see/hear someone
like Ornette Coleman or Charlie Hayden you would be in the audience
along with Jackson Pollack, and many other modern artists, and Leonard
Bernstein, Stefan Wolpe, all the music teachers at Julliard and other
composers, classical musicians, modernists etc. It was a very "artistic"

Basically they were drawing comparisons between Pollack and Charlie
Hayden's free jazz, or Cubism and Monk, or Stravinski and Bird etc..,
etc.., etc. To say nothing of comparing Brubeck to Bartok. Many of the
more modern jazz musicians were studying with some big time classical
musicians. Brubeck with Darius Milhaud for example. It was a heady scene
for those who were there and solidified the belief that jazz was indeed

That's just a simplified start. For those who might be interested, make
those google searches for "dada music" or "Stefan Wolpe", or "Ornette
Coleman" There is a wealth of information for the curious, about how the
development of music paralleled that of the visual arts, and vice versa.

However, be warned, if you tend to dismiss modern art, or modern music
as trash, cacophony etc., don't waste your time.

Steve Barbone

PS. Don't sell Wolpe short. When he wrote music for amateurs, or
beginners, it was easily played. However, when he wrote for himself and
the masters, it was some of the most difficult and intricate music
imaginable. To many of us, including me, unplayably difficult without
interminable practice.

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