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Time Out Ten

Julian Costello Quartet

Sunflowers

 

 

For this item you need to be able to stop for ten minutes.

We are often moving on to the next job, the next meeting, scrolling down social media, taking the next call ......'Time Out Ten' asks you to stop for ten minutes and listen to a particular piece of music; to find a time when you won't be interrupted, when you can put in/on your headphones and chill out. Ten minutes isn't long.

 

Julian Costello

 

This month, take a few minutes out to listen to saxophonist Julian Costello's lovely tune Sunflowers. The track comes from Julian's 2020 Quartet's excellent album Connections: Without Borders available on the 33Jazz record label (although you can just download the track here). Julian is based in the UK but his Quartet reflects the 'without borders' part of the album title with other members being Maciek Pysz (guitar); Jakub Cywinski (bass) and Adam Teixeira (drums). When Julian joined me for a Tea Break back in 2020 he said of the album title: "It has a theme and is conceptual. The full title is Connections: Without Borders.  Connections we have to places through music, and also how music transcends borders. It was recorded near Oslo and features great musicians from different parts of Europe. Music doesn't have boundaries and nor should it. I am inspired by how musicians and music travel like nature. Open to new ideas and influences from what, I think, should be an open world - when sadly, some would put up borders."

 

Take ten minutes out to listen to Sunflowers.

 

 

 

 

Van Gogh Sunflowers

 

Perhaps the most famous picture of sunflowers is the painting by Van Gogh. A blog in August 2021 by Martin Bailey, an expert on Van Gogh, describes 'ten surprising facts about Van Gogh's Sunflowers, his greatest masterpiece'; here are two of them. Like early jazz, art can also emerge from the red light distrcit, and like jazz, listen to it properly and notice how phrases are introduced to 'break up the symmetry, adding yet more vibrancy to the composition':

A week before starting on the paintings Van Gogh drew sunflowers in the garden of a bathhouse in the brothel quarter. Vincent made a delightful drawing of a garden bed bursting with soaring sunflowers (he also included a cat and added his tiny signature near the bottom of the wooden bucket). Writing to his brother Theo a week before tackling the four Sunflower paintings, he described it as “the little garden of a bathhouse”. Of the four bathhouses in Arles, the closest to the Yellow House was in Rue de Vers (now Place Marius Jouveau), in the then red-light district. This apparently tranquil back garden may well have been a haven behind a rowdy street. It is even possible that Vincent picked the sunflowers for his paintings in this very spot.

Why the crudely painted blue line? Van Gogh’s Sunflowers are so well known that we don’t usually look at them properly. But could I suggest that you focus on the blue line that separates the table and the background in the version with a yellow background. Unless it is pointed out, few viewers notice that the uneven and sketchy line has been painted just above the table and on the right side it is partly a double line. The table is also very slightly skewed, being higher to the left of the pot. The separate blue line across the pot is patchy, with a series of fairly straight rather than curved marks. All this is deliberate, not the result of clumsy brushwork. Van Gogh’s bold decision to include these crude blue lines breaks up the symmetry, adding yet more vibrancy to the composition.

Click here for Martin Bailey's other 'surprising facts'.

 

 

 

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Jazz As Art
Take Two
The Story Is Told

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