Friday, November 23, 2012

                                   And So We Carry On


I have received so many inquiries about the cover art of my new CD  And So We Carry On, that I wanted to devote some time to discuss how the cover art evolved. I also want to highlight some key people involved in the project.

After working on getting all the music recorded, mixed and mastered to a satisfactory state, the next step was developing the packaging.  

And So We Carry On, is a musical affirmation of the spiritual power inherent in human beings. It's a source that provides us with the means to overcome the challenges and hardships we face in life. There is always something, consciously and subconsciously that moves us forward. We somehow manage to prevail beyond what we see as insurmountable tasks at hand. And So We Carry On  is an acknowledgement of this action, and it's empowerment. I wanted the packaging to embody this idea so I searched for a graphic artist that would be able to understand and implement it. 

Sometimes it's amazing how things happen...... Nioka (my sweetheart - the subject of track 3, Niokim) and Vallyn (my sister) were at an event that Nioka was producing. 

Nioka Workman
Me with my sister, Vallyn Anderson

They ran into a mutual friend, photo-journalist Yasuhiro Fujioka (Fuji as his friends call him).  When Fuji asked about me, Nioka and Vallyn told him about my new recording.

They let him know that I was seeking a graphic artist to package the CD. Fuji introduced Nioka and Vallyn to a friend of his that was in attendance. That friend turned out to be Hollis King, one of the most respected creative graphic artists and designers in the music industry.

Hollis and I talked on the phone and he asked me to get him a copy of the music so he could listen and see if he wanted to get involved. I told him the idea behind the project and he asked if I was leaning toward any particular type of cover. I heard from him a few days later and he said he really liked what he heard. He said this music required a special type of artwork for the cover - I agreed. Hollis asked me to come to his house the following week because he wanted to show me some samples from a few artists.

Hollis King - photo: Leslie Jean-Bart

Hollis King is former Vice President and Creative Director of The Verve Music Group (a division of The Universal Music Group) the largest jazz record label in the world. Hollis has worked with some of the greatest musicians in the business and has received many awards and citations including five Grammy nominations. He regularly lectures at FIT, SVA, Art Directors Club and The Society of Illustrators.   Hollis runs his own creative company and is currently involved in producing a groundbreaking project about Harlem, it's people, history and evolution. The project is entitled "Images Of Dignity".
It is a massive undertaking. A celebration of Harlems' creative and eclectic African American inhabitants featuring many photos and intimate interviews. I was very pleased to take part in the project. You will definitely be hearing about it soon.

And So We Carry On - CD Packaging

I made it over to Hollis' and viewed some great samples.
There were 3 or 4 pieces that I really liked but one in particular that I found myself consistently drawn too. I chose a piece entitled U Kill US, U Kill U. It was created by Rudy Gutierrez. The adaptation of this work became the cover art of And So We Carry On .

I wasn't completely convinced at first that this piece was right for the cover. Although it did emphasized hardship, imbalance and struggle, the other pieces of the idea - hope and empowerment were not so evident. I came around after Hollis explained that he heard my music as the antidote to what the very heavy and provocative cover art represents. Again I agreed. I also became aware that every time I looked at the cover I saw something I hadn't noticed before. 
As a result of collaborating on this project Hollis and I have developed a great working relationship and lasting friendship. I am honored and priviledged to have had his creativity and expertise applied to And So We Carry On.

U Kill US, U Kill U  - Rudy Gutierrez

Rudy Gutierrez's art has been described as Wall Medicine, ancient yet contemporary, urban in a sense and musical in feel. His distinctive spirit driven paintings are recognizable for their energy and passion and speak to the ills of inhumanity as well as celebrate the Divinity of us all. He has done covers for Santana and Roy Hargrove among others.

Rudy Gutierrez with his Santana cover

Rudy Gutierrez is a tremendous artist and I suggest you pay a visit to his website, see some of his other work and learn more about him.



I've just returned home, back in New York City from almost a month in Europe playing shows with Sonny Rollins. In the next blog I'll share some photos and insights about the trip. Till Then ........



No comments:

Post a Comment