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Grits n’ Bacon Art Exhibit
June 28, 2014 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Rodni Hardison: Grits n’ Bacon
art exhibit & reception with a poetry and music performance by Rodni & Decora
Last Saturday Newburgh, June 28th 7-9pm
Healing Arts Studio
Rodni’s artist staement and bio;
“Alot of areas in Newburgh remind me of areas of Bed-Sty I grew up in, I love it”
He has played with many local bands icluding his own, Off the Record, like Dylan Doyle Blues Band, Talking Machine, Jeremy Torres, Cannible Ramblers Blues Band and Chrissy O’Dell’s blues band, One Hot Mess.
“If we are the product of our environment than I’ve definitely been blessed. The group of artists and musicians my parents were a part of are considered icons today, particularly the jazz musicians. My Dad and Max Roach grew up in North Carolina together and came to NY as kids. When I was born Max became my Godfather. For my 10th Christmas he gave me a set of bongos, and on my 15th birthday a trumpet.
The musicians, jazz and blues, and visual artists were links in the same chain. With me, I can’t hear music without seeing a painting, I can’t do a painting without hearing a melody. I can’t speak to one without speaking to the other’.
“At 16 I was hanging out in jazz clubs and bars in the city, Harlem and mid-town of of 7th Ave. I’d carry a sketch pad and trumpet case. I’d draw the “cats” playing. After school I would practice my horn by playing along with albums by Miles Davis, Kenny Dorum, Clifford Brown, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers-I learned by ear.
My father and his core group of artist friends, used to take me to Birdland Jazz Club. At 47th and Broadway, it was called the Club, the “jazz corner of the world”. They would sketch and draw the crowd but mainly concentrate on the musicians, it was their “moulin rouge”. As a matter of fact Toulouse-Lautrec, Paul Gauguin and Cezann were three of my Dad’s favorite artists.
Like blues, then jazz. Spirituals, blues, jazz, in that order. Jazz took the first two further but they all put a melody, a sound, to a color. All are shared influences. Art, music are livinmg entities, changing and breathing.
My first paying art gig was designing and drawing hand bills for a jazz promoter, Peter Long. I was a junior in high school, it was 1960 and the legal drinking age was 18. Pete had started promoting “Monday Night at the Village Gate”. First venue of its kind to combine latin jazz and straight ahead modern jazz on the same stage, a different line up every monday night. A friend of mine and fellow art student, Dwight Dates, started collaborating on the flyers. The flyers soon became collectors items among our friends, the brooklyn crowd.
Owner of the “Gate”, Art di Lugoff, needed an infusion of cash so he welcomed it. Jazz musicians in town, who were not working, made it their spot on Monday night. Miles, Monk, Diz, Max, Jr Cook, Jackie MacClean, Sun Ra, Freddie Redd, the list goes on and on. Not an ego trip in the place. All were very accessible, especially if you were a student of the arts, regardless of the discipline. Quite a few of them knew my Father and his group. All of them knew my Godfather, having played with him at one time or another.
Yes…I’ve been truely blessed. I’ve shared space, conversation, asked questions and gotten asters from some of the icons of black american arts. They were icons to us high school kids from Brooklyn in the 50’s and 60’s. They became icons to a larger audience in America within the last 30-40 years. To have in 1960, sit on a curb on a summer night, and have a 30 minute conversation with John Coltrane between sets outside the Coronet Club in Brooklyn and have him know who your father is because he was impressed by a painting he saw of his. That is a blessing. And remember this:if your kind to the Earth and its people, the Universe will give you a gift (unfortunately we’re not there yet).