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Top Jazz Artists Support 1000 Watts Arts Fundraiser for Jazz Musicians in Need

Frank Hammel • News • June 9, 2021

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Wynton Marsalis, Bill Frisell, Jimmy Owens and Antoine Drye are joining Jim Watt’s Multimedia Project, 1000 Watts – Art, Jazz & Filmmaking to benefit jazz musicians hard hit during pandemic. 1000 Watts aims to raise $100K through sale of 1,000 artworks created as musicians improvise, captured on film by noted photographer/filmmaker Danny Clinch, with funds to be distributed to jazz artists in need.

More details from 1000w:

Artist Jim Watt announces that jazz luminaries Wynton Marsalis, Bill Frisell and Jimmy Owens are joining him, jazz trumpeter Antoine Drye, famed photographer/filmmaker Danny Clinch and artistic director/producer David Spelman with Jim’s multimedia project, 1000w. The four musicians will act as an advisory board to the project’s goal of distributing funds — collected through the sale of Watt’s art — to jazz musicians who have suffered during the pandemic.

Watt is creating a series of 1000 ink washes in the monochromatic Japanese Sumi ink and water as a jazz ensemble led by Drye improvise as Watt’s paints in real time. Footage of the making of the ink washes from a fixed overhead camera and Clinch’s handheld filming will be the raw material for the making of a film — an artistic expression inspired by expressive nature of the washes.

Spelman will be scoring the film and the art work is being sold through Watt’s New York City gallery, Jim Kempner Fine Art. Thru the sale of the ink washes, $100,000 will be donated directly to the jazz community, which has been especially hard hit during the pandemic with the closure of most venues.

“I was inspired to do this project, much because of the pandemic and the effect it had on jazz musicians – even the best-of-the best – who suddenly found themselves without gigs to play – and at such a terrible time,” said Watt. “Late last spring, Antoine and I began hosting Jazz at The Shop, a bi-weekly donation-only outdoor jazz series at my Asbury Park studio. For many, and despite their world-class talent, it was their first opportunity to play since the world shut down in March. Onlookers were utterly awed by the level of the music. Even during non-pandemic times, one couldn’t get that caliber of music outside of the world’s finest jazz clubs.”

In all, $30,000 was raised over ten performances and all proceeds went to support the performers. “The opportunity was as much about the ability to play with peers in front of a live audience as it was about the financial,” added Watt. “I was inspired to create 1000w to continue to financially help musicians as well as to create a magical collaboration between painting, music and filmmaking.”

Though color has been a signature of Watt’s previous work, art for 1000w is entirely black-and-white – and spontaneous. Playing the scale of the project off the limitation of color, 1000w will be a thorough exploration of iteration and process, taking further ideas first touched on in Watt’s 2020 project 100w (100 watercolor works on paper harkening the coming of spring).

Along with the creation of art and music, is the making of a film to be directed by Danny Clinch. In his storied career, Clinch has captured portraits and documented the live performances of some of the greatest musicians of our time, including Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen, Tupac Shakur, The Smashing Pumpkins, Blind Melon, Dave Matthews Band, Phish, Pearl Jam, Willie Nelson and Björk. His work has appeared in publications including Vanity Fair, Spin, The New Yorker, The New York Times and Rolling Stone.

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