Alastair Graham

August 5, 2006

Bill Evans: “My Foolish Heart”

Alastair Graham is a London-based artist and animation designer. In the 70s, he was a producer at TVC London, the studio that made the animated Beatles film “Yellow Submarine.” Graham is a huge jazz fan, and for his next project he had the idea to do a “music video” for the jazz-fusion band Weather Report. He pitched his concept and a storyboard to Weather Report keyboardist Joe Zawinul, who received the idea enthusiastically. When Graham began talks with Weather Report’s management in LA, the management balked on the proposed budget. Thus, the film was never made. Graham reflects that the film would have been “the first music video, some years before such things became possible.”

Graham remains active as an artist that creates music-inspired art. His jazz portraits have developed a following among jazz fans, and he’s currently developing a series of short films featuring the music of Brazilian percussionist Cyro Baptista (of John Zorn, Paul Simon, Sting) for portable media players such as cell phones and iPods. To see some of his recent work, check out this short film inspired by the music of SUBA. The film recently screened in London theaters, opening for X-Men 3.

Take a look at more of his jazz portraits online at http://www.jazzfolio.com. His drawings succeed not just because he exagerates the physical characteristics of each jazz musician, but because he is able to illustrate the unique musical personality of each musician he draws. Graham even goes so far as to list the specific recordings that inspire his drawings. His saturnine, introspective Bill Evans (above) is my  favorite.

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