The Jazzcat

Nic @ Night with BeBop and Basquiat at LACMA!

by on Oct.09, 2008, under News



Basquiat, the painter, the commentator, the political, the

tager, the thinker, the lover of jazz who composed mental images, displayed

them on public property and left you thinking. Thinking about yourself, how

life relates and how you are a part of that relation. Or perhaps how the “SAMO”

followers are inspired by graffiti and art. The world, if you haven’t noticed,

can be very odd. Most people see someone who is not like them and keep walking,

they see a tattoo or a piercing or perhaps even someone less fortunate and they

make sure not to socialize. It can be like this with music and art as well.

But, fortunately for Jean-Michel Basquiat, people were paying attention and so

genius hidden in an odd package rises to fame much like when the right person

likes the music and then instant success!



Basquiat was inspired by the music and many of his paintings

reflect images of jazz heroes who are incorporated into the imagination of his

canvases. And what an imagination or perhaps not, perhaps what a reality! This

is usually the case when it comes to art. It is not thought, it is life and

everyone else is amazed by what comes by way of nature.



Nicholas Payton has brought his ensemble of players to the

Bing Theater at LACMA to celebrate this particular beautiful blend of artistic

and musical imagery and integrity. The music is the magic that can easily be

the conduit of myth and mystic cerebralness. Music was certainly one of the key

factors in the interpretation of sounds flowing through the caverns of the mind

and out through the pinnacle tips of brushes onto a solid tangible canvas like

an interpretation machine.



Music is color and Nicholas knows this by the way he paints

his ideas with sound. Flowing, fleeting, ascending and descending down upon our

emotions, the music and the visuals work together to stimulate our own

impressions using bits and pieces of our life’s experience to formulate some

sort of understanding about what we are feeling at this moment.



Billy Childs is “Lyric”lly a master of landscaping primes,

pastels, naturals, sharps and minors. 

There is a source that’s moving, that has the notes create movement in

the still of our rapidly adventurous journey. Persuasive percussion, rhythm and

intense desire to provoke is all lead by the sound of the trumpet, that works

through Nicolas, that is drawing on skill, experience, Basquiat, tradition,

Parker, Dizz and the energy that blends it all together.


Nic takes familiar Parker riffs and uses only a few

disguised notes to carve out his own beauty. The intensity builds before the

music cascades to a return and then ascension!

Improv, straight ahead, and out phrases over seamlessly

flowing rhythmic pleasures creating a tranquil existence of ebbs and flows to




Art and music, get into it!


LeRoy Downs


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