Gris-Gris was the first record credited to Dr. John, and to most listeners he seemed to have dropped out of nowhere with his mystical R&B psychedelic and Mardi Gras Indian costumes. The album, however, was actually the culmination of about 15 years of professional experience, during which Dr. John -- born Mac Rebennack in New Orleans -- had absorbed the wealth of musical influences for which the Crescent City is famed. Gris-Gris's roots reach back well beyond the dawn of the twentieth century, even as the album took in cutting-edge influences such as 1960s progressive jazz, and pushed into territory that no popular musician had ever explored in quite the same fashion.
"Gris-Gris" itself is a New Orleans term for voodoo, and the name Dr. John taken from a New Orleans root doctor of the 1840s and 1850s. Also known as John Montaigne and Bayou John, he was busted in the 1840s for practicing voodoo with Pauline Rebennack, who may or may not have been a distant relative of our man Mac. One of Mac's grandfathers sang in a minstrel show, and the latter-day Dr. John adapted one of grandpa's favorite tunes, "Jump Sturdy," into the track on Gris-Gris of the same name. His onstage costumes and feathered headdresses, the source of shock and delight to audiences since the late 1960s, are similarly adapted from those worn by Mardi Gras Indians in New Orleans, famed for the infectious tribal percussive rhythms and chants they perform in local parades.
Acrylic on canvas
48" x 60"
Shipping cost: $200.00
I call my art "Composing with Color". Everyone hears music differently. The way we perceive art is shaped by our taste and by emotions, situations and personalities. My canvas is the manuscript on which the notes are painted. I have attempted to have music take on physical colors as it travels through air. My ideal vision would be to create a world in colors as Thelonious Monk created a world of sound.
I am a graduate of The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, PA. I have had solo exhibitions in New Orleans, Los Angeles, Miami and Frankfurt, Germany. I have received a grant from the prestigious Pollock-Krasner Foundation and the Artist Fellowship Inc, New York, NY.
George McClements is a New Orleans artist living and working in the Bywater neighborhood.
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