When the Original Dixieland Jass Band, formed in 1916, recorded 'Darktown Strutters' Ball' and 'Indiana' in New York in January 1917, they created what is held to be the first recording by a 'Jazz' band.
I have been captivated by jazz music since I first discovered it in the late 1950's . This image of the five members of the ODJB in striking and synchronised pose, recorded in an old photograph, has always stuck in my memory. The musicians are (from L to R) Tony Sparbaro – Drums, Eddie Edwards – Trombone, Nick LaRocca – Cornet, Larry Shields – Clarinet, Henry Ragas – Piano.
When the band were invited to play a season in London in 1919, by all accounts Tony Sparbaro, known as 'Spargo' was very disinclined to make the journey across the Atlantic through a fear of drowning. This alleged and almost inconsequential fact lodged in my brain and, on coming across this photographic image again in 1997, Spargo's disposition came to mind and as I wanted to develop the ideas inspired by this photographic image, I came to produce this work, which I chose to entitle ‘O.D.J.Band Box’.
The rather strange thought that the members of a successful and renowned musical ensemble would not always play together concerned me at the time; that something so seminal might not adhere to its component parts seemed to me to be impossible. Consequently, this work, being conceived during a later difficult period in my life, attempts to expurgate this (unreasonable) concern.
The visual division of an entity into 4 and or 5 parts is a recurring element within the composition, with the sublimated numeric value of 9 hovering in the background. At the time of producing this work, in my fifty fifth year, I felt the number 9 to be something of a nemesis.
Mixed media : Inkjet prints on paper, acrylic sheet, wood, and applied objects attached to MDF panel with various paints and varnishes.