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At Connie's Inn, from the "Of the Blues" series

Music played an important role in Romare Bearden's art. He especially loved jazz, and his method as a visual artist was based in part on what he had learned from jazz musicians about improvisation. As in jazz, the unpredictable repetitions and juxtapositions of shapes, textures, and colors in his art create startling, unexpected visual rhythms. As Bearden once said about being an artist: "You must become a blues singer—only you sing on the canvas. You improvise—you find the rhythm and catch it good, and structure as you go along—then the song is you. Music has always been important for me the way it has been important for many Blacks. Blacks have made their own sound, their own musical language like jazz. It is theirs and they identify with it. In a world of constantly changing identities, certain forms of music represent a solid identity for Blacks."


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