In U Street Chromatic (for Duke), Billy Friebele pays homage to Duke Ellington’s Soda Fountain Rag, an improvisational piano composition inspired by the mechanical motions of a soda fountain machine. First played at the Poodle Dog Cafe on the 2000 block of Georgia Avenue, Soda Fountain Rag carried traces of what would become defining characteristics of Ellington’s musical style: spontaneity, improvisation and the ability to translate impressions into sound.
On the 100th anniversary of the creation of Soda Fountain Rag, Friebele honors the jazz great with an interactive drawing and sound-making machine. Planted in locations along the U Street Corridor that were important to Duke Ellington’s artistic evolution, Friebele’s playful machine translates the motion of passers by into sound and abstract images using sonar sensors. The result is a 21st century interpretation of Ellington’s DC roots in Friebele’s hallmark style.
Billy Friebele is a multi-media artist working in the DC metro region. A former musician, Friebele’s artwork has been exhibited nationally and internationally in locations including the Space and Flow Conference in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Open Source Gallery in Brooklyn, NY, the Orlando Museum of Art in Orlando, FL and Art Currents Institute in Chelsea, NY.
U Street Chromatic (for Duke) will be on view in Washington D.C. till August 15th, 2014.