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Posts Tagged ‘Porgy and Bess’

Coming to the studio this morning and the song, It Ain’t Necessarily So, runs incessantly in my head for some unknown reason, reminding me of a post from a few years back that speaks directly to this. Here it is:

GC Myers- Moses (I Supposes)Sometimes when I am walking over to the studio in the morning I will have a song stuck in my head. Sometimes it is one that I recently heard, something from the radio. But sometimes it’s one that just springs deeply from the past, something I haven’t thought of in some time. That’s how it was this morning. And thinking of that song linked me to a small painting that I did many years ago.

They just fit together in my mind for some reason.

The song was It Ain’t Necessarily So, the song sung by the slick drug dealing Sporting Life in the great George and Ira Gershwin opera, Porgy and Bess, set among the Gullah population living on the sea islands off of Charleston, South Carolina.

Just a fantastic mix of sound and wordplay.

For some unknown reason, when I hear this song this small painting from over 20 years ago always comes to mind. It’s a piece that I did very quickly, not really knowing what I was trying to paint.  It just sort of popped out and I immediately began calling it Moses (I Supposes). There was something about this piece that I have always liked. Maybe it’s the I-don’t-give-a-damn way way everything in it is painted, from the giant hands down to the giant feet.

It’s just a personal favorite that somehow always springs to mind when I think of this song. Maybe because Moses is mentioned in a verse in the song–

Lil’ Moses was found in a stream
Lil’ Moses was found in a stream
He floated on water
‘Til Ole’ Pharaoh’s daughter
She fished him, she says from dat stream.
***************
I don’t know for sure why the song and painting are connected in my mind but I enjoy the combination. Here is one of my favorite versions of the song, the one from the Simon Rattle directed version with the London Philharmonic from the Glyndbourne Festival with Damon Evans as Sporting Life.
Have a great day and remember– not everything is necessarily as it seems to be. It ain’t necessarily so…
**************

 

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GC Myers- An Inner Warmth smIt’s been a warm summer.  I guess for some of us that’s an understatement.  The mowed lawns are burned to the color of Shredded Wheat and ponds show more and more of their banks as the water levels slowly descend.  There’s a dustiness in the air from the driveway that coats everything and the thickness of the heat has me dreaming of hopefully cooler days ahead in the fall and winter.

In that vein, I thought I’d show another piece from my show that opens this coming Friday, July 22, at the West End Gallery in Corning.  Titled An Inner Warmth, it’s 10″ by 16″ on paper and feature cooler color tones yet has a warmth to it that is pleasant to me.  It’s a painting that points very much back to my earlier work in the way it is composed of distinct upper and lower blocks of color divided by an unpainted line.

The interplay of those blocks of colors is what carries the weight of the painting for me, carrying its message and meaning.  The details of the trees and the path in the foreground add a narrative element but the colors tell the story here.  The red of the tree seems even warmer here set against the cooler tones.

For this Sunday Morning Music, I thought I’d play a version of one of the songs from the great American songbook, Summertime from George and Ira Gershwin, taken from their opera Porgy and Bess.  It has been covered by so many people and there are so many wonderful versions out there from which to choose.  You’ve got the operatic versions from the likes of Kathleen Battle and Renee Fleming,  jazzier versions from Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughn,  rockier versions from Janis Joplin and Sting and countrified ones from Doc Watson and Willie Nelson.  And that is only a tiny sampling.  And almost all of them are absolutely outstanding which I thinks speaks to the strength of the composition.

I chose this version from Norah Jones just because I like it’s coolness.  This is a duet between her and the late jazz piano legend Marian McPartland.  It’s a lovely version and gives a cooler feel to these hot days.

Have a great day…

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GC Myers- Moses ( I Supposes)Sometimes when I am walking over to the studio in the morning I will have a song stuck in my head.  Sometimes it is one that I recently heard, something from the radio.  But sometimes it’s one that just springs deeply from the past, something I haven’t thought of in some time.   That’s how it was this morning.  And thinking of that song linked me to a small painting that I did many years ago.

They just fit together in my mind for some reason.

The song was It Ain’t Necessarily So, the great song sung by the slick drug dealing Sporting Life in George and Ira Gershwin‘s Porgy and Bess.  Just a fantastic mix of sound and wordplay.

For some unknown reason, when I hear this song this old piece from over 20 years ago always comes to mind.  It’s a piece that I did very quickly, not really knowing what I was trying to paint.  It just sort of popped out and  I remember calling it Moses( I Supposes).  There was something about this piece that I have always liked. Maybe it’s the I-don’t-give-a-damn way way everything in it is painted, from the giant hands down to the giant feet.

It’s just a personal favorite that somehow always springs to mind when I think of this song.  Maybe because Moses is mentioned in a verse in the song–

Lil’ Moses was found in a stream
Lil’ Moses was found in a stream
He floated on water
‘Til Ole’ Pharaoh’s daughter
She fished him, she says from dat stream.
I don’t know for sure but I enjoy the combination.  Here is one of my favorite versions of the song, the one from the Simon Rattle directed version from the Glyndbourne Festival with Damon Evans as Sporting Life.  Have a great day and remember– not everything isn’t necessarily as it seems to be.

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Cabbage Row- Catfish Row Charleston SCFirst things first, a happy Father’s Day to all you fathers out there, including my own living down in Florida.  I was going to say more about him today and some recent cognition troubles he’s been experiencing but I think I will keep it simple and just send out my wishes for a Happy Father’s Day.

Being Sunday, it’s time for some Sunday Morning Music.  I was going to play something with a father-y theme but this week’s tragic event down in Charleston has been on my mind.

In the late 1980’s, my parents lived  for a couple years on one of the sea islands outside of Charleston so we were able to visit a few times.  It was hard not to embrace the place with all its charms, its people and history always on display.  I’ve had a soft spot for that area ever since and when the Principle Gallery opened a new location there two years ago I was thrilled in that it might give me an excuse to visit that place once more.

So when a hate-filled , weak-minded coward given  power through a gun takes the lives of nine innocent people in that city, I am filled a multitude of emotions.  Sadness for the families and friends of those victims, for the city itself and for this nation that seems to accept this type of tragedy more and more as the norm.  Anger at the killer and at ridiculous hatred he possesses.  Anger at the societal mindset that incubates or tolerates this hatred, especially in a state where the Confederate flag brazenly flies about the state capital.  Anger at those people who believe that this is somehow “their”country and that it is their duty to somehow take it back.  Anger at politicians who give lip service but little else in the aftermath, only looking to put the event in a perspective that suits their own agenda.

How many more times will we tolerate this?  Many, many more I am sure because there is no easy answer here, no magic pill that wipes away racism, especially in a society where the constant thinly-veiled racism shown  in the contempt and disrespect for our president is accepted as the normal.  We can’t continue the way we have int he past, simply accepting this as the everyday event it is quickly becoming.  We must not tolerate intolerance. We must choose to change.

But Charleston will survive, will get past this time as it has so many other dark days.  This morning I am playing a song that has a foot in those earlier days of Charleston.  It’s a song from George and Ira Gershwin’s opera Porgy and Bess based on the Dubose Heyward novel, Porgy, set in the the real Cabbage Row area of Charleston.  This became Catfish Row in the story so that it could be relocated to the seafront.  The photo above with the Catfish Row sign is the actual site of Cabbage Row where families of freed slaves lived in the late 1800’s and ealry 1900’s, selling cabbage from the windowsills.

The song is I Loves You, Porgy from the late and oh so great Nina Simone.  She was one of the greatest and most distinct interpreters of song ever.  I don’t think I’ve ever heard her sing anything that didn’t become hers once it was sang.  This song is a tour de force among many version of it from a wide range of singers. Enjoy and have a great Sunday and a great Father’s Day.

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It’s summertime and the living is easy…

As I wrote earlier, I’d be more comfortable in a cold tundra wind than in the steamy temperatures that are moving through the east now,  a heat that brings to mind the hazy days of summertime on the islands near Charlestown, South Carolina that George Gershwin brought to life in his great opera, Porgy and Bess.  But while I’m not a fan, I f ind things in it that I can enjoy.  A cool drink.  The feel of coolness from a hardwood floor on a bare foot.  The quietness it brings as the animals in the forest around me hunker down, almost like they do in the coldest weather.

I’m in the final days of prepping for another show, this my tenth annual at the West End Gallery, and the heat mixed with the pressure to get my work done conspire to make me a bit listless as far as criticaland creative thinking is concerned.  So, I focus on the cool air of morning, trying to absorb as much as possible before the real heat descends and I put on some Gershwin to fit the mood.

Here’s a great folky version of Summertime from the great Doc Watson, the legendary blind folk guitarist.  He’s accompanied here by his late son, Merle.  It is one of the most evocative songs ever written and this version adds Doc’s own touch.  Enjoy and stay cool…

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