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For her multi-year project, Priest chose Ryan Cohan’s hour-long Jazz suite The River for its beauty, intellect, emotional range and panoramic scale. She writes, “In it I hear voices of Latin and Afro-Cuban Jazz, African drumming with its layered rhythms, Aaron Copland’s uplifting compositions, call-and-response forms from Africa and the African-American South, and the gritty Chicago Blues and Jazz tradition Cohan grew up in. The River offers me rich musical spaces and emotional content to work with.”


ELLEN PRIEST On Being American/Jazz: Ryan Cohan’s The River #5 © 2018  Papers, oil, flashe, pencil, MSA gel. 42” x 42”