Paul has done some of my all-time favorite JazzFest posters. The first one Paul did was of Wynton Marsalis playing his trumpet inside an old French Quarter house. We view this scene through the open window, with the shutters folded back. Not an easy image to pull off, but he did it, and he made it moody and exciting.
The second was Harry Connick Jr. at the piano of a French Quarter apartment, looking through the open door onto the courtyard balcony. His handling of the scene was reminiscent of Matisse. I never particularly liked Matisse, except for his paper cut-outs, but this was a pretty nice poster. Harry Connick must have liked it well enough because at Irene’s Cuisine Restaurant in the French Quarter, they have an autographed poster hanging in their bar, signed to the owner in thanks for all the wonderful meals. Harry Connick is right, Irene’s is one of my “can’t miss” places to eat.
And his latest poster was for the 2016 JazzFest. He depicted the entire Marsalis Family inside the windows of a old Garden District home. One in each room. My neighbor said that she hadn’t bought a JazzFest poster for ten years, but this one was so great, she had to have it.
I love Paul’s work, so it is no surprise that I like his JazzFest posters so much. But the fact that two of them show musicians playing inside buildings, from the outside looking in, and that he manages to make the images work, is fascinating to me. I think this is a very difficult design problem to pull off. He manages to take the focus off the architecture, and still have it create the mood of New Orleans, while allowing the musicians to hold their own in the composition. I’m impressed.