American Culture

Pekar Tribute 4: Mike Sheehan

Harvey Pekar had a lifelong affinity for jazz, which is, as has often been said, the art of improvisation. Since the original artist for this panel decided without telling us that it wasn’t worth the time, we had to turn to a last-minute replacement (not a cliché—this piece was begun and completed today) to improvise a little multiple media jazz himself. The fourth panel in our ongoing tribute to Harvey Pekar was contributed by similarly jazz-obsessed Scholars and Rogues co-founder Mike Sheehan.

6 replies »

  1. Well played inspiration, Mike. To me it resembles an orthodox icon…Giant Steps makes, imo, an appropriate halo.

  2. Thx, cmack & lex. A lot of thought went into this, despite the short amount of time I had, and yes religious iconology is part of it (e.g., negative of the Shroud of Turin). As for Giant Steps, Pekar said Coltrane played on it with “boundless imagination,” so I wanted to capture Harvey in meditation/sleep/repose, channeling/dreaming of/becoming one with the same creative spirit, bathed in a notational etherea. But even in music “heaven,” the notes (from the title track of Giant Steps, which I listened to as I put this together) are properly aligned and on staves rather than drifting about… even the most inspired, freest jazz is transcribable… that part’s an in-joke on Harvey’s interminable struggle with his obsessive-compulsive tendencies. There’s more symbology, but I’ll leave it at that.