The Art & Jazz Series

The Art & Jazz series includes selections of jazz music with a corresponding art project which will relate to the music. Please note: the way in which you execute the art project and the materials that you use are completely up to you. In most cases, something as basic as a sketchbook and markers or a simple watercolor set with some paper and a brush or two will work just fine for our suggested art projects. This is completely flexible: if you want to use crayons, or acrylic paint, or pastels, go ahead! Just enjoy the music and see how it can inspire you with the direction of the art projects that we've designed here.


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Jazz tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins

This art project features the composition "Airegan" by the tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins. The title is based on a backwards-spelling of "Nigeria," so we ask that you listen to the music and create your own backwards art work!

Get started on this art project with music by Sonny Rollins ➤


Jazz trio The Bad Plus, featuring Ethan Iverson, Reid Anderson, and Dave King

This art project features the composition "Prehensile Dream" by the jazz trio The Bad Plus, featuring (from left, pictured here): Reid Anderson on bass, Ethan Iverson on piano, and Dave King on drums. Listen to the music and, utilizing our definition of "prehensile" and a few sample images, create your own "prehensile" art work!

Get started on this art project with music by The Bad Plus ➤


Be Bop by Dizzy Gillespie

This art project includes the composition "Be Bop," performed by Dizzy Gillespie on trumpet along with Paquito d'Rivera on saxophone, Tom Machintosh on trombone, Ray Brown on acoustic bass, Michael Howell on electric bass, Valerie Capers on piano, and Tom Campbell on drums. We compare the frenetic pace of the music to the style of "all-over" painting, including examples by Jackson Pollock and James Ensor. In this art project, we want you to create an art work that echoes the non-stop energy of the music.

Get started on this art project with music by Dizzy Gillespie ➤




Jazz bassist Charlie Haden

This art project features the composition "Silence" by the jazz bassist Charlie Haden. How does one make music about the topic of silence? Listen to the song, and then try to create an art work that visualizes silence. Can you do it?

Get started on this art project with music by Charlie Haden ➤


Jazz pianist and composer Arshak Sirunyan

This art project features the composition "Twitching Eye" by the jazz pianist Arshak Sirunyan. The song is meant to reflect the sequence and the rhythm of a twitching eye, which is based on an autobiographical episode experienced by Sirunyan. After listening to the music, create an art work where you are depicting a twitching eye. Try to express some movement or get across visually the idea that the eye (or eyes) are twitching or causing discomfort.

Get started on this art project with music by Arshak Sirunyan ➤