"I soon found that wit, like every other power, has its boundaries; that its success depends upon the aptitude of others to receive impressions; and that as some bodies, indissoluble by heat, can set the furnace and crucible at defiance, there are minds upon which the rays of fancy may be pointed without effect, and which no fire of sentiment can agitate or exalt." Johnson: Rambler #174 (November 15, 1751) (a fictional correspondent, Dicaculus)
"Caricature is the tribute which mediocrity pays to genius." Oscar Wilde
Johnson defined ridicule as "Wit of that species that provokes laughter; to expose to laughter, to treat with contemptuous merriment". Of course, for a caricature to work there must be some element of ridicule. That is why politicians are such popular targets for this form of mockery. It must therefore be a dangerous proposition to aim your pen at icons of adoration as Alastair Graham has bravely done for his series of caricatures of Jazz artists. The danger here is whether you agree with Mr. Graham's selection of artist characteristics for focus, his interpretation of the music characteristic for that artist, or the personal impression that each music has on his own muse.
The difficulty here is that Jazz is a musical form where the music seems closely allied to our understanding of the artists character, beliefs and lifestyle. This seems less common in other musics, for example, whether or not we know Adress Schiff is a devout Buddhist has little impact on our reception of his interpretations. But, Jazz gets personal.
See the Impressions online shop for everything from limited edition prints and posters, to t-shirts, plus a superb little booklet of the collection.
Artist Alistair Graham captures the essence of the great jazz masters in these vibrant, witty and stark drawings, many of which have been featured in Jazzwise magazine. Grahamís imaginative flair is reminiscent of artists Mal Dean and Jean Moebius Giraud. Here in this collection of 60 drawings are the bandleaders from Ellington and Mingus to Don Ellis and Sun Ra, together with Miles Davis, Gil Evans, John Coltrane, Tony Williams and Herbie Hancock. Parker, Gillespie, Mulligan, Roach, Kirk, Metheny, McLaughlin, Sanborn, Pastorius and many more are brilliantly presented in this fantastically original pocket book (12x14cm). Paperback, 191 pages jazzwise.com