2005 New Orleans
JAZZ FEST

LIMITED EDITION
ART POSTERS

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The Birth of Jazz
by Bill Hemmerling


2005 Jazz Festival Poster

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Once in a great while, an individual comes along who changes the world. Charles "Buddy" Bolden (1877-1931) was in that rarified league. Without Buddy's inventive use of his coronet and bandthere might be no jazz, at least not New Orleans-style jazz as we know it. Bolden created what became known as "the big noise in Jazz." He lives in legend since he worked before the first jazz recording was made, yet was so popular he allegedly had eight bands playing on the same night; running to each to play a few tunes. He lived large as a major celebrity and the self-styled "King" of jazz. While his music touched the blues, it was closer to improvised rag time. Whatever you call it, he gave Storyville its distinctive sound. It was claimed that his powerful horn could be heard a dozen miles away. By the end of the 19th century, Bolden's brand of collective improvisation was what New Orleans bands played - and continue to play today. His approach - the hot-jazz ensemble of six or seven players anchored by a coronet - is what we think of today as the New Orleans sound. Louis Armstrong called him, "a one man genius ahead of 'em all."

But by 1907, it was time to pay the devil his due; Buddy collapsed while playing in a street parade and was committed to a mental hospital suffering bouts of derangement: It is said there is no genius without madness. He remained there until his death 24 years later. Jelly Roll Morton's "Buddy Bolden Blues (I Thought I Heard Buddy Bolden Say)" immortalized Buddy's pioneering work. The song's melody is based on the Bolden theme song "Funky Butt" named after the Funky Butt Hall, a popular dance hall where Bolden played. That dance hall stage is reimagined in Bill Hemmerling's portrayal of Buddy and his band. For more on the fascinating story of one of America's last pre-electronic celebrities, see "Imagining Buddy Bolden (1877 - 1931)" by Dave Radlauer. The site also has the only known photograph of the Buddy Bolden Band, which Hemmerling drew upon when creating his image.

The Jazz Festival poster has been graced by visionary talent portraying New Orleans' legends for 30 years. For 2005, we are honored to present Bill Hemmerling who has catapulted into the first ranks of collectibility since he burst on the scene a scant three years ago. His eclectic paintings made from - and on - found, forgotten and discarded objects, reflect and personify the heart and soul of Louisiana culture. His touching evocations of a deeply rooted and essential character are known and collected by other artists and in-the-know collectors, but are not well known by the public-at-large. Yet with only a single gallery in his home town of Ponchatoula, Louisiana, his paintings are in such demand they sell before they're dry and are in collections across 25 states. It's rare that we can present - and patrons can collect - a rising star at the beginning of his ascent. The heart evinced in Hemmerling's Bolden is one of those handful of artworks that redefines a legend for a new generation while simultaneously becoming a highly valued collectible in its own right.



The work is being published in several edtions:
10,000 numbered only 23" x 32"
3,000 artist-signed & numbered 24" x 34"
750 remarqued, pencil drawing, signed & numbered 25" x 38"
300 canvas remarqued, overpainting, signed & numbered 26" x 40"





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