Sometimes I title pieces based on music I'm listening to as I create it or a conversation I have just before or after the completion of a piece. In this case, I debated between "Straight, No Chaser" and "Criss-Cross" -- two albums by Thelonious Monk whose music I was listening to as I finished this piece.


In college, as a young journalism student working as an Arts & Entertainment writer for the school newspaper, one of my most vivid and spirit-fueling memories was the phone call I had with T.S. Monk, the son of Thelonious, in preparation for his performance at Hancher Auditorium in Iowa City. T.S. was so gracious with his time and we talked not only about his music but about his father's music and his memories as a kid growing up listening to his father play with his fellow jazz giants Miles Davis, John Coltrane and the like.


T.S. said to me, recalling those memories fondly, "You know, the greatest music those cats ever played was never recorded. Because they played it in our living room -- you know -- in their jam sessions. It was just them. And freedom. And, my god, did they play."


Recycled upholstery on paper; 14x17; 2021


This is a piece in the ongoing body of work titled POP of Color. A portion of the proceeds from each sale in that body of work will be donated to the Catherine McAuley Center. In June, thanks to previous purchases from this body of work, I donated $112 and that amount was matched by Kepros Physical Therapy and Performance.

Straight, No Chaser