By Nancy Todd
How to take one hundred years of the history of jazz and organize it into understandable chunks? Not a problem for Daniel Soutif of the Musee du Quai Branly in Paris, who designed ”A Century of Jazz,” an exciting you-want-to-tap-your-feet-swing-your-bootie-exhibition.
This exhibition at the Center of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona is divided into ten decades, each with sheet music, album sleeves, photos, etc. Put your ear up to one of dozens of speakers and boogie on. You will hear samples of Miles, Louis, Jossephine Baker, and dozens of other greats. Early images of African Americans are offensive and yet they are significant in the evolution of jazz history.
The show sings a melody between the influence of jazz with movies, sculptures, paintings, photographs, etc. Big names accompany the music: Matisse, Warhol, Basquiat, Bearden, Man Ray, Douglas, Pollack, etc. Watch movies with Fred Astaire and his backups who perform with graceful speed. I confess, I am a Ginger wannabe and this was my favorite part of the show. Film clips: Betty Boop to Basie to Malle are scattered about the exhibition.
Learn how jazz influenced the Civil Rights Movement, clothing, and acted as a bridge of understanding between countries. Barcelona jazz in the 1950′s is also highlighted. I will go back to see this high energy exhibition again and again. If you don’t catch the show in Barcelona, you can see it in Italy and Montreal. The Scoopometer rates this as a toe tappin’ winner.
Let us know about music you have experienced in Spain!
Where: Center of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona, Montalegre, 5, through October 18.
Metro: Green line, Plaza Catalunya, Purple line, Universitad