One of the original plans for the Sounding The Chord section of this project was to eventually go back to some of the cities where U. City musicians have been found in clusters and get a group photo of all of them in a location that represents the particular city. That plan still lives. Since the director, Rod Milam, lives in New York City and that there have been so many U. City musicians found that are also based in the New York City area, Rod has decided to borrow an idea from a famous picture of musicians (and subsequent documentary) and give it a U. City twist for the first group photo.
The well known 1958 photo by Art Kane "Jazz Portrait" is a shot of 57 of the greatest, global jazz legends taken in front of a brownstone home in Harlem for a special edition of Esquire Magazine. The Academy Award Nominated documentary "A Great Day In Harlem" was made in 1995 about the era, the people in that picture, and the day of the actual shoot. Rod saw this documentary in 1995 and immediately bought the poster. And after more than a year of videoing and photographing more than 75 U. City musicians, the concept of doing a series of group photos merged with the brilliant documentary and picture of Art Kane's first professional shoot. But he wants to kick it up a notch and give it an even closer meaning for the people of the St. Louis region and the project itself.
The picture above shows the 1958 Art Kane photo in the lower right corner. The color image of the brownstone builiding in the rest of the picture was taken a week ago in the Cobble Hill section of Brooklyn in New York City. It's owned by U. City High School graduate Frannie (Seltzer) Mendlow and her husband. They have both signed off on the idea that we'd try to take three distinct pictures in front of their house in a clear homage to the "Jazz Portrait" shoot last century. Here are the pictures we will try to arrange:
1) A shot of all of the U. City musicians that we can find that live in the New York City area
2) A shot of all of the U. City musicians plus the actors, dancers, and other artists that live in the NYC area.
3) A shot of all of the people that have called U. City home that currently live in the NYC area.
The fact that we would be documenting so many people from the U. City diaspora that live in NYC area seems very groundbreaking and different. And to cap that off by using a brownstone owned by a U. City native as the set and backdrop seems to be the icing on the cake.
So as of right now, there is no scheduled date or time for the shoot, but we'll be working on it. (Scheduling will probably be the hardest part about getting so many working musicians together in one place at one time.) You should stay tuned to the Facebook and Twitter feeds to stay up to date. And if you have any questions or comments about this effort, please feel free to make those known below.