Skip to main content

May 2007

Music Segment: Jazz with Gary Motley and Friends

Gary Motley is one of the most highly regarded jazz pianists in the southeastern United States. During his career, he has established a professional association with many of today's leaders in jazz, having worked with artists ranging from Dave Brubeck to Clarke Terry. Gary has been recognized with awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Soapstone Center for the Arts, the Great American Jazz Piano Competition, and the American Composers Forum. Gary has also been featured in Downbeat Magazine and on Piano Jazz with Marian McPartland (NPR). His recording credits range from his premiere CD Peaceful Moments (1994) to his latest recording, Everything I Love (May 2005).

Hot off a sold-out concert at Carnegie Hall, Gary Motley visits the GPB studios to perform with some of his very talented friends: trumpet player Melvin Jones, bass player Rodney Jordan, and drummer Leon Anderson, Jr. A homegrown Georgian, Gary Motley is one of our state's top cultural ambassadors.

To hear more of Motley’s music and learn more about the artist, visit his website.

Hale Woodruff (1900-1980)

Hale Woodruff was one of the 20th century's greatest African-American artists. A painter and muralist, he is best known for the Amistad Murals, which depict the history of slavery and are housed at Talladega College in Alabama. He also created a powerful series of murals titled "The Art of the Negro" for Atlanta University Center, which can be seen today in the Trevor Arnett Library at Clark Atlanta University. Woodruff was an outstanding teacher and hoped these murals would inspire future generations of young African-Americans to appreciate their cultural and artistic heritage, beginning in the days of ancient Africa.

A Midwesterner by birth who trained in Paris, Woodruff moved to Atlanta in 1931, where he founded one of the nation's first black art departments at Atlanta University Center. This year the Spelman College Museum honored Woodruff on the 75th anniversary of the art department's founding with a major exhibition of his diverse and powerful work. Before the exhibit opened to the public, State of the Arts followed several of Woodruff's paintings as they went through a process of conservation and restoration. To learn more about Hale Woodruff, look him up on the web.

To find out more about the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, visit their website.

José Limón: A Chance to Dance with the Best

One of the pioneers of modern dance was a Mexican American named José Limón. A contemporary of Martha Graham, Limón was the first official cultural ambassador sent by the U.S. State Department around the world to share his knowledge and passion for the art of dance. Before his death in 1972, Limón was famous not only as a dancer but as an innovative choreographer, and “the Limón Technique” became known far and wide for its unique contribution to modern dance.

The José Limón Dance Company survived the death of its illustrious founder and today is under the guidance of artistic director Carla Maxwell in New York City. Recently, members of the José Limón Dance Company came to Emory University, where they shared secrets of the Limón technique with some of Atlanta's best dancers. Working alongside those who had once danced with the great José Limón, the Atlanta dancers were challenged to learn and then perform one of Limón's original masterpieces, Missa Brevis in Tempore Belli, or "Brief Mass in Time of War." To learn more about José Limón, visit his website.

Arts at Emory University


LOJA is the work of artists Lori Keith Robinson and Jan Clayton Pagratis, who fuse their styles and palettes into a collaborative body of work that explodes with color and energy. The artists paint on the same canvas at the same time, allowing the paintings to grow through their shared instincts and distinctive brush strokes. Each piece is a color-infused interpretation of the Lowcountry as well as a testament to the working relationship and artistic alignment of the artists. The name LOJA is a fusion of their two names, reflecting both the collaboration and creation of a distinct style of its own.

Lori Keith Robinson and Jan Clayton Pagratis are founders of the Chroma Art Gallery for Fine Contemporary Art located in Savannah, Georgia. Chroma has been voted Best Gallery by both Savannah Magazine and Connect Savannah. The gallery exhibits prominent regional and national artists working in painting, printmaking, photography, sculpture, glasswork and jewelry.

Visit the Chroma Gallery website for more information and paintings.

Music Segment: Lovell Sisters Band

The Lovell Sisters feature tight vocal harmonies with an innovative fusion of folk, country, and contemporary acoustic music. With 4.1 million tuning in, they won NPR’s “A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor” National Talent Competition in February 2005.

Jessica (20), Megan (17), and Rebecca (15) began lessons in classical violin and piano at age five. The sisters sang as a trio for church and in the church choir. All three were members of string quartets and youth symphonies and, at fifteen, Jessica was co-principle of the 2nd violin section in the SAU Symphony Orchestra.

Bitten by the bluegrass bug nearly two years ago, The Lovell Sisters strayed from their classical roots after friends introduced them to the jamming and traditional music of the Signal Mountain Opry in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Jerry Douglas' Slide Rule was their first introduction to bluegrass, inspiring Megan to play the resophonic guitar. The Lovell Sisters now bring youthful vigor and a wide variety of influences to bluegrass.

The Lovell Sisters line-up:

Jessica Lovell – lead vocals, fiddle
Rebecca Lovell – lead vocals, mandolin
Megan Lovell – vocals, resophonic guitar
Andy Nall – acoustic bass
Brad Frazier – vocals, guitar, banjo

Visit their website.

Randy Wood

His name is mostly unknown except in musical circles, but Randy Wood definitely qualifies as one of Georgia’s hidden treasures. Wood, a native of Coffee County, has combined masterful woodworking skills with a love of music to become one of the most sought-after fretted instrument-makers in the country, crafting guitars, mandolins and dobros.

Opportunity took Wood to the music centers of Muscle Shoals and Nashville, where he honed his skills repairing and improving instruments for everyone from Elvis to Emmylou to Eric Clapton. In the mid-1970s home called, and Wood is now settled in tiny Bloomingdale, outside Savannah, where his store and workshop draw musicians from near and far. Ever-modest, Wood describes himself as a woodworker who happens to make instruments, but thousands of musicians around the world disagree and consider him a real artist.

Visit his website for more information.