Art Ensemble Master Class

Art Ensemble of Chicago Panel Discussion at Big Ears Music Festival in Knoxville, TN in March 2019. John Schaefer moderates panel discussion with Art Ensemble members, Roscoe Mitchell, Tomeka Reid, Junius Ponds and Hugh Ragin.

In our yoga class on Monday Jeffery was telling us that our feet get bigger as we age. I thought it was because we walked the Camino. He also said our ears get bigger. And that reminded me of the video Peggi shot of the Art Ensemble panel discussion at the Big Ears Festival in Knoxville. We are still taking the breadth of that experience in.

Peggi assembled the five video clips she shot and we posted it here. After the discussion I was able to tell Roscoe Mitchell how much of an impact “Les Stances a Sophie” had on me in 1970. Fontella Bass’s vocal on the funky “Theme de Yoyo,” was a direct line from the Motown singles we grew up on and the avant-garde. It made me a lifelong Art Ensemble fan and I feel very lucky to have heard their fiftieth anniversary show.

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Art Ensemble

Paul Dodd Painting In Studio
Paul Dodd Painting In Studio

I loaded the cd player (shown to the left) with five Art Ensemble of Chicago cds and hoped some of their magic would rub off on me.

And I remembered another painting truism. The further back I stand from my painting, the better it looks. And I don’t mean just because I can’t see it as well. When I catch myself hunching over the canvas I know I am in trouble. I am better off hanging onto the end of a big brush and standing as far back as I can. This way I can keep the whole painting in view while I paint a small section. When I start obsessing on the parts I would be better off walking away. “Walking away” seems to be a useful technique as well. When I come back to it, I usually find a clearer picture of the real problems.