Music can be difficult to write about because it can’t be translated. You can compare it to things seen and felt, like rivers, engines, storms and even animals, but you cannot literally put in into words. If you are a visual artist you could try drawing a picture of music, but that would also be highly imprecise. However, if you make music and pictures, well, then you might be onto something.
Enter Oliver Lake. The 70-year-old alto sax master started in the 60s by taking what Eric Dolphy had done and stretching it further. Lake is now both painting and making collages of colorful abstract forms onto which he places skewed but recognizable objects like pieces of fabric, metal or drawings of human faces. Sometimes he places abstracts atop abstracts. OK. So, substitute “melodies” for “recognizable objects” and you have Lake’s approach to music in a nutshell.
Of course, on the saxophone he’s a genius, whereas his paintings have yet to find a critical consensus. Regardless, you can see and hear for yourself when Lake performs a solo concert of saxophone, flute and poetry, surrounded by a gallery of his paintings, plus pieces by others contributing visual statements about jazz music.
The performance takes place at the Healdsburg Center for the Arts on June 29— and the visual art will be on display from June 3-30. The art show is called Flying Home: Inspired by Jazz. It’s a great opportunity to investigate what art has to say about jazz.
Tickets: Buy online healdsburgjazzfestival.org or Healdsburg Center for the Arts, 130 Plaza St. Open daily 11am – 5pm.
Advance ticket purchase recommended due to limited seating.
Other: Wine and desserts will be available for purchase before the performance and during the break.