bessie smith

Duke Ellington, Elvis, Chuck Berry, the Beatles, the Stones, Miles Davis, Prince, Zeppelin … all the music John Bohlinger loves was born from the trailblazing jazz and blues of Bessie Smith (above) and Satchmo.

While watching the Ken Burns documentary Jazz, I realized all the music I love was born from the jazz and blues of Bessie Smith and Louis Armstrong.

Ancient Egyptian paintings and sculptures all look like they were created by a sixth grader. They are stiff, flat profiles with feet, nose, and chin pointing in the same direction: no depth, no realism. All art was this primitive until the 5th century, when Greeks took a giant step forward … literally. They developed contrapposto, where a standing human figure is posed with their weight resting on one leg. The weight shift brought organic movement, bringing the paintings and sculptures to life. (Check out the 5th century Kritios Boy, which is the earliest known Greek statue to use contrapposto.)

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