Monday, July 9, 2012

Jazz-Inspired Art by Eugene "Jeep" McCoy

(click on art for a larger view)

Hands by Jeep McCoy - the artist used his own as a model!
Jazz lovers in NE Florida know the name "Jeep" McCoy from the North East Florida Jazz Association (NEFJA) - which he and his wife Muriel founded in 1987. Acquainted with a flourishing jazz scene in the North, the McCoys quickly discovered after settling in Palm Coast a serious void in the 'new' city. "Where's the music?" Muriel laughs in recollection.
John Coltrane  - painting by "Jeep" McCoy

In May 1986, they invited jazz lovers (via letters to businesses in PC) to their home for a night of jazz. 40 people showed - quite a turnout for a first run! NEFJA has since become an important lighthouse for lovers of jazz in an area that can't seem to maintain a jazz venue for very long; presenting over 100 concerts and giving out annual scholarships to serious jazz students in FL. 

Louis Armstrong - painting by Jeep McCoy
Though Jeep passed in 2002, Muriel continues to man the helm for NEFJA - recently celebrating it's 25th anniversary with a Jazz Festival featuring Marcus Roberts and Wallace Roney. While visiting in her home last year, I noticed (it's impossible not to!) the amazing, colorful paintings of jazz performers by Mr. McCoy on nearly every wall. I felt they deserved to be appreciated by art and music lovers everywhere, and Muriel graciously obliged.

Milt Hinton - painting by Jeep McCoy

Eugene "Jeep" McCoy was a fast worker, once he got started he'd work well into the night finishing a painting. There is a certain vibrancy and sense of excitement in the works that could only have been captured by someone intimately and deeply associated with the music. The facial expressions capture the
deep thought and/or ecstatic joy of the improvisor.
Nat & Cannonball Adderley - Jeep McCoy
This is the first of two posts celebrating Jeep's wonderful creations - in the next we'll view more works and learn about the McCoy's jazz history in NJ with some of the greats. (Disclaimer: the copyrights of these works of art belong to Muriel McCoy - please do not reproduce without first obtaining permission from the copyright owner (via NEFJA). Special thanks to the McCoy's son for photographing the paintings!) - PCJ

No comments:

Post a Comment