|Oct 2 2023
If you're going to put a musical group together make it the best.
It's been awhile since we featured Polish art, so today we're revisiting the interesting aesthetic of that country with a small collection serving as a reminder that jazz was the predominant popular musical form during the heydey of the pulp era. Polish artist Waldemar Świerzy painted this series of portraits featuring American jazz icons. He signed them all on the left edges. The phrase “wielcy ludzie jazzu” on the top of each print means, “great jazz people,” some of whom, you've noticed, he painted more than once. Świerzy was born in 1931, and painted these in the mid-1980s, focusing mainly on musicians who had been active and popular during his youth. There are even more we didn't show here. Several of these musicians are mentioned by name in books we've read, for example Louis Armstrong, who's the subject of a brief discussion in Harold Sinclair's New Orleans based novel Music Out of Dixie. We think this is nice work by Świerzy. You can see more Polish art here, here, and here.
PolandLouis ArmstrongKing OliverMiles DavisCharlie ParkerJohn ColtraneBillie HolidayWes MontgomeryCharles MingusCharlie ParkerSarah VaughanThelonius MonkWes MontgomeryWaldemar Świerzy