Exalting Tunes on a Big Canvas (via NY Times)

Subtitle – Jazz & Colors: The Masterworks Edition Takes Over the Metropolitan:

Here’s an image I won’t forget: the saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin and her band Soulsquad blasting out the romantic anguish of Ornette Coleman’s “Lonely Woman” in front of Emanuel Leutze’s painting “Washington Crossing the Delaware.” You know that painting — a dozen men in a rowboat breaking through the ice floes, the general facing left in the breaking light.

Not a reproduction but the painting itself, 21 feet wide, gilt-framed. This was in Gallery 760 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Friday evening during Jazz & Colors, an experiment in kaleidoscopic concert staging that has previously happened twice, in Central Park in 2012 and 2013.

The Jazz & Colors idea is to set up many jazz bands in small places within a big place, playing the same set list of standards and near-standards. It’s a transitory aesthetic experience: You walk through a performance area, graze with eyes and ears, and move on. At its best, a visit can bring you into new relationships with a certain band, a certain song and a certain public space. Its impresario, Peter Shapiro, brought the event indoors this year for Jazz & Colors: The Masterworks Edition, booking 15 bands and placing them around the Met’s first and second floors, for two hourlong sets with a 30-minute intermission. (It is scheduled to happen again at the Met on April 24.)

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