New Orleans Music Observed: The Art of Noel Rockmore and Emilie Rhys

The New Orleans Jazz Museum, from January 30, 2020, through September 1, 2021, hosted a joint exhibition featuring the paintings of Noel Rockmore and his daughter Emilie Rhys. Both Rockmore and Rhys spent periods of time as part of the audience of New Orleans clubs (most notably Preservation Hall), drawing portraits of the musicians and the patrons. The oversized 282-page New Orleans Music Observed has details of the exhibition and reproductions of the art work as its core, but it also contains much more. Noel Rockmore (who was born as Noel Davis but wanted a more original name) was a fascinating if erratic and somewhat dangerous character. A brilliant artist who was well aware of his talents, Rockmore was also an alcoholic, self-destructive, prone to sudden mood changes, and to a certain extent was his own worst enemy. To say that he was not a good husband or father would be an understatement. Conceited while being almost desperate to be recognized as an artistic giant, sometimes for no particular reason he even turned on those who thought highly of him including individuals who could help his career. Artistically he found his way in the early 1960s when he became a regular at Preservation Hall even though his true love was classical music, and he left behind quite a bit of enduring work despite himself. Emilie Rhys inherited Rockmore’s artistic talents without his personal sho
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Since 1975 Scott Yanow has been a regular reviewer of albums in many jazz styles. He has written for many jazz and arts magazines, including JazzTimes, Jazziz, Down Beat, Cadence, CODA, and the Los Angeles Jazz Scene, and was the jazz editor for Record Review. He has written an in-depth biography on Dizzy Gillespie for He has authored 11 books on jazz, over 900 liner notes for CDs and over 20,000 reviews of jazz recordings.

Yanow was a contributor to and co-editor of the third edition of the All Music Guide to Jazz. He continues to write for Downbeat, Jazziz, the Los Angeles Jazz Scene, the Jazz Rag, the New York City Jazz Record and other publications.

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