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Piano Art

Piano-loving, New York City-based artist John Diebboll’s exhibition “Jazz-Case Piano Drawings,” a collection of 12 multicolored and lyrical jazz art case piano drawings, is on its way to the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

The exhibition, which opens at the Kennedy Center on February 19, 2004, at 6:30 p.m., will also feature a special performance from Dr. Billy Taylor.

The 12 pieces featured in “Jazz-Case Piano Drawings” attempt to distill the instrument’s traditional form to create new perspectives on the marriage between jazz music and art. (Shown is a 1997 piece titled Nocturne No. 6 “Monk”)

But if that wasn’t arty enough for you, try Diebboll’s description:

“Each portrait portrays a melding of two spirits: the subject and the architect. They are nocturnal searches for iconographic metaphors found and colored to convey the melding of one to the other. Each piano owns its own sound: seen, heard, and felt – just as no voice is the same as another. Just as each house, garden and building is a portrait to play aloud, their spirits surround us day and night.”


All kidding aside, the exhibition does take an interesting perspective on our understanding of the piano using Diebboll’s progressive approaches to architectural design. With each piece exploring the personality of a different ivory tinkler, Diebboll draws from an eclectic assortment of players including Bill Evans, Thelonious Monk, Randy Weston, Keith Jarrett, Billy Taylor, Art Tatum, Brad Mehldau, Herbie Hancock, Mary Lou Williams, Marian McPartland and even Charles Mingus-who may not have been the best pianist in the world, but his 1963 album Mingus Plays Piano is an overlooked gem.

Diebboll’s recently published book, The Art of the Piano, will be available for signing at the discussion and at the Kennedy’s Center Gift Shop. The exhibition will run through April 5, 2004.

Since we’ve already got you jacked in to the Kennedy Center’s matrix, we might as well tell you about other jazz-related events coming up at the venue in early 2004:

Jan. 21 & 22 • Brad Mehldau

Jan. 30 • Dame Cleo Laine & John Dankworth

Feb. 6 • Cassandra Wilson

Feb. 14 • Dee Dee Bridgewater

For more information on the Kennedy Center visit

Originally Published