SPIRITWORLD features a 74 minute musical performance within an installation of paintings and sculptures by Jeff Schlanger. Also included is a 30 minute documentary about his musicWitness® Project and a 7 minute sequenced picture gallery.
Jeff Schlanger is a familiar sight to anyone attending free improvisation concerts in New York City. In the front row at such venues as The Stone, Tonic and during 11 annual Vision Festivals, with brushes and pens in both hands, he creates vibrant, colorful depictions of what has been called “ecstatic jazz,” finishing his portraits of groups of musicians inside their music as the last notes are ringing in the air.
As he says in the Genesis & Testimony documentary on SPIRITWORLD, his approach is to work “as if attempting to embody the whole experience of being in a dynamically-created musical event.” The DVD also presents a beautiful concert in its entirety, featuring bassist William Parker, vocalist Lisa Sokolov and horn players Oluyemi Thomas and Joe McPhee during an exhibition of Schlanger’s “music Witness®” work at CUE Art Foundation in Chelsea. Schlanger is shown, like the musicians, creating in real time.
Frank Rubolino, writing for the online music magazine One Final Note, said:
Jeff Schlanger … breathes sustaining visual life into fleeting musical moments in an attempt to refute through his own medium Eric Dolphy’s statement that after hearing live music, “It’s gone in the air. You can never capture it again.” He produces lasting documentation of the unique kinetic energy that surrounds each performance by transfixing the music’s image into a spectrum of vibrant colors. His motivation is a deeply felt love for the music, and an equally strong love for painting and sculpture.
Spiritworld DVD documents the spirit of Jeff Schlanger, as he has so often done with the best of today’s jazz musicians.