Music: 13 Artists Collaborating Without Words

Adventures in Music

Duke Ellington

Here’s another stunning clip from Norman Granz: Improvisation. This video captures the moment when the painter and sculptor Joan Miro (apologies in advance to the punctuation police) and jazz composer Duke Ellington meet for the first time for an improvised jazz session. I’ve witnessed similar unusual artistic collaborations myself- I produced a rock video for Bjork (more apologies!) that was designed and animated by John K.

Duke Ellington: “Improvisation for Miro”

Parties at my house are always interesting interactions between cartoonists, musicians and creators of all stripes. Sometimes these sorts of things don’t work out- Walt Disney and Salvador Dali’s “Destino” was never meant to be (and when it finally was completed, it looked very little like either of their work). But when two great creative minds in different disciplines can find a way to work in tandem, wondeful things can happen. I’m sure there are more unusual collaborations between different types of artists. If you can think of some, tell me about them in the comments.

Stephen Worth
Animation Resources

Adventures in MusicAdventures in Music

This posting is part of a series of articles comprising an online exhibit entitled Adventures in Music.

One Response to “Music: 13 Artists Collaborating Without Words”

  1. My only regret is that I wish I’d seen this post sooner. Beautiful music. It’s a busy day but I want to read the whole series when I get a chance. Thanks for posting all this gold!

    Dunno if you’ll enjoy this, Steve, but one of the most incredible collaborations I can think of right off the bat is when David Bowie and Iggy Pop teamed for Iggy’s album The Idiot in 1976. Bowie’s music was pretty, but often plastic, while Iggy’s tenure as The Stooges’ frontman was ferocious and experimental. Bowie, a Stooges fan, wanted to get their frontman out of rehab and on his feet, and also to help himself through dark times of addiction and a creative block. He chose lead singer Iggy as a vehicle to further his experiments in electronic music. Iggy, eager to prove his own intellect to a disbelieving public, provided sinister lyrics, a rough but heartbreaking vocal performance, and valuable input on the overall sound, resulting in a stronger album than Bowie would ever construct afterwards. It’s dark as hell, but just as compelling, with a jazzy, noirish ambience and a more spontaneous sound than the droves of synth-pop albums that would follow.

    If nothing else, “China Girl” — which Iggy did first, on this album — sells it.

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