Human freedom, compassion, musical statements

azz is one of the most vital and ever-changing musics in the world. Jazz music has continually evolved since its birth nearly one hundred ago. The music has always had the ability to cut across both national boundaries and musical genres, revealing the unity among seemingly different cultures. There is a powerful relationship between tradition --  the continuity of culture -- and creative freedom of innovation through the spirit of improvisation. I am proud and humbled to play a part in this true world music.

- Chris Bakriges


The Great American Songbook Concert Series continues at Memorial Hall on Saturday, September 20,  beginning at 8PM. The monthly series began last month to call attention to and aid charitable organizations in and around the Deerfield Valley. Last month's show collected several thousand dollars for the West River Habitat for Humanity. September's program is a benefit for the Pettee Memorial Library in Wilmington while proceeds from the October 11 concert is dedicated to Jessica's Closet, a program that provides high fashion clothing for proms and other special events to those who cannot afford the apparel. 

I am being joined this month by bassist Avery Sharpe, drummer Gary Smith, and saxophonist James "Ace" Leonard. In addition, guitarist John Stowell from Oregon makes a welcomed guest appearance.

Avery Sharpe is an alumnae of Archie Shepp, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, and McCoy Tyner. Avery is also an Artist Associate in Jazz Bass, and Jazz Coach at Williams College as well as faculty Advisor for the Williams Gospel Choir and affiliated faculty for Africana Studies. Gary Smith has worked with Harlem's Sultans of Swing and Duke Jordan. Ace Leonard is a Vermont legend who learned to play from watching Charlie Parker on NYC's 52nd Street. John Stowell is a unique guitarist who has recording and performance credits with Milt Jackson, Lionel Hampton, Art Farmer, Conte Condoli, Herb Ellis, Bill Watrous, Mundell Lowe, George Cables, Billy Higgins, Billy Hart, Richie Cole, Paul Horn, Tom Harrrell, Don Thompson, Dave Liebman, and many others

Memorial Hall is located on 14 W. Main Street in Wilmington. All concerts start at 8 PM and tickets are freewill donations available the evening of the program.


jeremyallen bassIndiana University Museum of Art, 1133 E. 7th Street, Bloomington, IN 47405

Works by Matisse from IU Collections
April 2–May 25, 2014
Special Exhibitions Gallery

The IU Art Museum’s complete suite of color plates from Henri Matisse’s Jazz is featured as a special addition to the exhibition Matisse, Life in Color: Masterworks from the Baltimore Museum of Art on view at the Indianapolis Museum of Art through January 12, 2014. When the prints return to Bloomington, they will be the centerpieces of their own special exhibition.

On Sunday, May 25, the final day of the exhibition I, along with bassist Jeremy Allen from IU’s Jacob School of Music, will perform the Matisse Project: Teaching the Eye to Hear, my compositions inspired by the scissor cuts of the 20th century's great colorist in a series he collectively called Jazz. Jeremy's credits are long and include working with Bob Brookmeyer and Kenny Wheeler. The performance will also include historical interpreter John Moore reading excerpts from the artist's own words.

For more information and reservations contact the IU Museum of Art at 812-855-5445.



Musician inspired by Matisse's 'Jazz'


Origionally Published Wednesday, December 16, 2009 By CORI URBAN

CHICOPEE - The sick-bed "painting with scissors" paper cut-outs French painter Henri Matisse created before his death and the text that accompanied them when they were published in 1947 inspired Elms College music lecturer and artist-in-residence Christopher G. Bakriges - a pianist, composer and educator - to create a musical reflection on the work.

"Teaching the Eye to Hear: Musical Reflections on Matisse's 'Jazz'" is Bakriges' musical interpretation of the artist's visual images. His son, violinist David C. Bakriges, is featured on the CD.

The series of 20 Matisse plates, collectively called "Jazz," "really stimulated me to look at his composition, form and color and really respond to that in a musical way," Bakriges said. "I could see what he was doing in my mind's eye and really respond to it musically."

Read more: Musician inspired by Matisse's 'Jazz'


Bakriges Playlist

Next Performance

The Sound of Surprise Jazz Concert Series
on September 20, 2014 at 07.00pm
at Memorial Hall Center for the Arts
takes place in
2 days 7 hours

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