When I lived in Boston eons ago, the Museum of Fine Arts was within walking distance, and I often visited to get high on such paintings as a Renoir of a young couple in what looked like a New Orleans-style slow dance. I’d stand there fantasizing about taking the man’s place in the painting, but I never expected to find anything of jazz in this legendary museum’s exhibitions. Nor have I heard of jazz as a fine art in any of the other museums around the country. I have been at jazz concerts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but there’s nothing of Louis, Duke, Pres, Bix or Trane in the galleries there.
Suddenly, however, in a very prestigious museum of fine arts-having opened in April and continuing until Aug. 29-there is a stunning media exhibition on someone the museum accurately calls “one of the jazz world’s greatest innovators.”