My Own Damned Band!

“Harold’s House of Jazz”
© 2017, Molly Larson Cook
24 x 20

I’ve loved this painting for a while…it was part of my original jazz collection, and I like the title as much as the painting itself.  The recording of this tune  by Eliza Blake has all the energy and life that makes jazz what it is for me. You can listen here and decide for yourself –

As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t start my paintings with a tune in mind.  I paint and listen to what the paint wants to be which may sound a little strange to the nonbelievers, but as the layers of color add up, as I improvise with paint and texture, a “melody” takes shape and when it’s finished I know how it sounds.

I had a dream not long ago in which I saw myself dancing up a sidewalk, happily singing “I’ve got my own damned band! I’ve got my own damned band!”  At the time, I just equated it with a joyous sense of life, but over the last few weeks as I’ve put together my show for the opening next week, as I looked at the 28 paintings that will go in the show and listened to their tunes, I got it.  I really DO have my own damned band!  The time I spend in my studio is music to my ears and what’s better than straight-ahead jazz with a splash of bossa nova because Tom Jobim and his friends are just so great?

Pulling the show together, my first in Oregon where I’ve returned after years in other places, has been exactly what I needed during the lock down and uncertainty of the pandemic.  The melodies, the artistic riffs, the bluesy laments, the slow dances and the jazzy solos kept me going. 

I’m happy to be giving them their due and hope they bring pleasure to those who see the show.  That’s not up to me – that’s between the paintings and the viewers.  I’m just the instrument, the channel.  I’ve heard that line so often as a writer or from a musician or actor or dancer and it’s a good line, but this time I feel it and know just what it means.  Somehow, from somewhere, these paintings happened. 

I’m grateful to have been part of the project.

Blessings to all…



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