“Charles Ingham’s Jazz Narratives” — a continuing series

August 8th, 2019

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“Out West, and Thinking About Chet Baker playing ‘At Last'” is one of five photo-narratives in Charles Ingham’s new series, “Charles Ingham’s Jazz Narratives”  All five images are shown below Ingham’s introduction.

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A note from the publisher

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…..For several months, Jerry Jazz Musician has presented the artist/photographer Charles Ingham’s unique and brilliant series of photo-narratives he calls “Pastoral Scenes of the Gallant South.”  These pieces, according to Ingham, “come out of a road trip through the South taken in 2018, and can be interpreted as a form of self-portrait, of the artist paying homage in his own way to an individual, and of the place which that person occupied and continues to occupy. This is the South that the photographer Sally Mann describes as ‘a place extravagant in its beauty, reckless in its fecundity, terrible in its indifference, and dark with memories.’”

…..The pieces published within this series include the legendary blues artist Robert Johnson; Harriet and Thomas Truesdell, abolitionists and conductors on the Underground Railroad; the educator and investigative journalist Ida B. Wells; civil rights activist Homer Plessy; and the Reverend L.O. Taylor.   You can view the series by clicking here.

…..Mr. Ingham recently began a new series of photo-narratives devoted to jazz, which are published on this post, following his introduction to the series.

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-Joe Maita

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Charles Ingham introduces his “Jazz Narratives” series

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…..Jazz has always been there for me. Music is an essential part of my life, and I have eclectic tastes, but there’s always been jazz music. At seventeen, I’m at a Rahsaan Roland Kirk concert in my hometown of Manchester, England, stunned by the transgressive beauty of this man’s performance. At fifty-seven, my wife has died, and I can’t bear to hear lyrics, so it’s .Kind of Blue .and Trane ballads. And today I’m listening to .‘Round Midnight, Monk at the piano alone, stunningly honest and almost unbearably intimate.

…..So as an artist I need to give something back, but make it my own, and make it new.

…..As a conceptual artist, my photo-narratives are hybrid forms, transgressing distinctions between the verbal and the visual: the image as text. My art represents a . combinatory .aesthetic; each work constitutes. .a whole made up of parts, creating something of a symbiosis: the words, the images (abstract and referential), the space between images, the subjects, the reference to specific places or times. Some visual references are obvious; some of the bones, sinews, and other connective tissue that hold a particular narrative together work within the piece’s own logic, a logic that viewers find for themselves. Here, the artist makes the work, and that work has an agenda, but a significant part of that agenda is for the viewer to find something of (or for) themselves within these images and words.

…..Each work in this series of. .Jazz Narratives. .is anchored by a person (a musician) and a related place. I am especially interested in the “aura” of these places. Sometimes, the place remains relatively unchanged seventy years after the musical fact; sometimes, only a physical street number remains. What matters is that, for the artist and the viewer, this .aura .remains.. This, say, is 151 Avenue B, on the Lower East Side; the brownstone is easy to miss if you’re walking along the southeast side of Tompkins Square Park, but if you know that Charlie Parker lived there, it has become something more than the stone and glass of the place. 4201 S. Central Avenue, Los Angeles, is an anonymous mixed-use building, but there’s the number above the glass doors; 4201 S. Central is the Downbeat Club. Here Clora Bryant first heard bebop; here Bird played his first gig after being released from Camarillo .State .Hospital... “Everybody was there, man, everybody,” Teddy Edwards says. “It was a night to remember”: here, on this corner – and that corner remains, as does that night and all those other nights.

…..Some years ago on a visit to Brooklyn, I went looking for 99 Ryerson Street, where the poet Walt Whitman had lived when. .Leaves of Grass. .was first published. The fact that Whitman had lived here had only recently been discovered, and the 1850’s wood-frame house was unmarked and unchanged save for aluminum siding and the addition of an extra floor. It is the only surviving Whitman residence in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Standing on the original bluestone sidewalk slabs, I was looking ..at .Whitman, whose vision of America was a primary reason for my decision to emigrate to the United States. In my excitement, I crossed the street and spoke to an elderly man sitting on the stoop opposite. “Do you know that Walt Whitman lived in that house?” I asked, clearly appearing to be a madman. The neighbor looked up at the crazy person: “Is that the guy who is renting a room?” For him, the aura was not visible.

…..I am conjuring ghosts; they are still alive in these places as they are in their recordings. The music may have been recorded in 1947, but they are playing it now. You can hear that. And, if I am successful, you can see the musicians in my art.

-Charles Ingham

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Charles Ingham’s Jazz Narratives — a continuing series

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“Dreaming of Bird at Billy Berg’s”

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“Out West, and Thinking About Chet Baker”

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“Up South, and Thinking About Charlie Parker”

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“Out West, Thinking About Miles Davis”

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“Seventh Avenue, Raining, and Thinking About Monk and Nellie”

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 All pieces are archival inkjet prints, 4½ x 6½ inches, framed to 14 x 14 inches

 

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photo by Jacqueline Ramirez

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Born and educated in England, Charles Ingham moved to California in 1982. He has always been interested in hybrid forms and the intersection of literature and the visual arts, his photography often seeking to transgress the traditional boundaries separating the verbal and the visual.

Ingham lives in San Diego and shows his work at Distinction Gallery in Escondido. He recently had three pieces accepted for the 28th Annual Juried Exhibition at the Athenaeum Music and Arts Library, La Jolla. He also has two pieces in the upcoming “Six-Word Story” exhibitions at Front Porch Gallery, Carlsbad, and the Oceanside Museum of Art.

His work may be found.at his website: charlesingham.com

 

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