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Archive for the ‘Live Performances’ Category

Live Performances Cedar Walton

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This image of Cedar Walton was made at the world famous Jazz Showcase in Chicago.  Thanks to Cedar for giving me a few minutes to make the image.

In the early 1960s, Cedar along with the late, great Freddie Hubbard joined Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, where he played along side another legendary player, Wayne Shorter.   Walton left the Messengers in 1964 and by the late 1960s was part of the house rhythm section at Prestige Records, where in addition to releasing his own recordings, he recorded with Sonny CrissPat MartinoEric Kloss, and Charles McPherson. For a year, he served as Abbey Lincoln‘s accompanist, and recorded with Lee Morgan from 1966 to 1968.

From the 1980s until the present day, Walton has remained active, and many of his compositions have been adopted as jazz standards, including “Firm Roots”, “Bolivia” and “Cedar’s Blues”. “Bolivia” is perhaps Walton’s best known composition, while one of his oldest is “Fantasy in D”, was recorded under the title “Ugetsu” by Art Blakey in 1963.

In January 2010, he was inducted as a member of the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters.

 

Live Performances Creole Legend Morris Ardoin

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I had never seen Morris Ardoin before so when the Jazz Kitchen booked him for their Back Room concert series, it was a great opportunity to check him out.

Born in 1935 in Evangeline Parish, Louisiana,  Morris Ardoin is the oldest son of legendary Cajun/Creole musician Alphonse “Bois Sec” Ardoin. He began learning to play music at thirteen years old by listening to his cousins and has been going strong for over 60 years now. Although many people know him as one of the last Louisiana Creole fiddlers, few have had the opportunity to see him as the accomplished accordionist and singer that he is. At long last, I had the chance to get an up close and personal look at this unique performer.

Live Performances Soul Legend Syl Johnson

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I had the opportunity to spend some time photographing Syl Johnson, the legendary Chicago based Soul singer.   Syl has played with many of the great soul/blues musicians of the 50s-60s including Magic Sam (another Mississippi transplant and Chicago neighbor of Syl’s), Howlin’ Wolf, Billy Boy Arnold and Junior Wells.

This image was made backstage at Space, a beautiful venue in Evanston, IL where Syl and his big band were performing two sets.   Syl spoke to the crowd about his life, his new guitar endorsement and other musicians sampling his music (something that has made him quite a bit of money) but more importantly, he performed several tunes that fans had come to here including Take Me to the River and Is It Because I’m Black.   A warm man with a big smile, I asked Syl to play through a tune or two during session which he was happy to do.   The photograph below is one image from that session.

 

 

Live Performances Mike Stern @ The Jazz Kitchen

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Mike Stern paid an overdue visit to The Jazz Kitchen last week.  Along with Mike, Tom Kennedy and Ritchie Morales round out the trio.   Generally smiling and having a great time, Stern played a great mix of tunes from his recent recording and some vintage tunes as well.

Live Performances Esperanza Spalding

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This image of Esperanza Spalding was made during her stop in Indianapolis in support of her “Radio Music Society” recording.  An enthusiastic crowd at the Old National Center was treated to a great show by Spalding, alternating from electric to acoustic bass throughout the performance.

Esperanza’s band include 11 members in addition to her, including Esperanza on Double Bass, Electric Bass and Lead Vocal, Leo Genovese on piano, Rhodes and various keyboards, Jef Lee Johnson on electric guitar and backing vocals, Lyndon Rochelle on drums and backing vocals.  The horn section featured Daniel Burke on tenor and soprano, Aaron Burnett on tenor, Jeff Galindo and Corey King on trombone and Igmar Thomas on trumpet.  The creative Leala Cyr provided backing vocals as she did on Esperanza’s last recording and tour.  While I believe saxophonist Tia Fuller is part of this band, I don’t recall seeing her.

Live Performances Kenny Phelps

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This is an image of the great Indianapolis based drummer, Kenny Phelps.  Kenny has been out of the road with legendary vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater for the past few months.  This image was made in the Newmark Theatre during the 2012 Portland Jazz Fest.

Live Performances Dee Dee Bridgewater “To Billie with Love: A Celebration of Lady Day”

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This is an image of the wonderful Dee Dee Bridgewater made during at the 2012 Portland Jazz Fest.   I was photographing the festival for Downbeat Magazine.  The guys in this amazing band included Jimmy Greene on tenor, soprano and flute, the “always smiling” Edsel Gomez on piano, Kenny Davis on bass and Indy’s own Kenny Phelps on drums.  I’ve know Kenny Phelps for years and it was great to see him be asked to join Dee Dee’s band.  It was nice to see that the Portland audience liked Kenny as much as we do in Indy.  As usual, Dee Dee & band put on wonderful 90+ minute show, featuring many classic songs made famous by Billie, including “God Bless the Child” and “Strange Fruit”

 

Live Performances Bass Man

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You’re looking at the hand of bass player Frank Smith.  This image was taken at 1/4 sec which is why you’ll see the blurring of the fingers and vibration of the strings.  Frank is a first call bass player in Indy and has played with all the great musicians coming through the city.

This image was made in the Jazz Kitchen on 2/6/2012 during his performance with the Smith-Weakley Trio featuring Frank on bass, Steve Weakley on guitar and Sir Lawrence Clark lll on drums.

 

 

Live Performances Bad Benson!

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While a fan of George Benson’s earlier works with the greasy B3 bands of Brother Jack McDuff and Dr. Lonnie Smith, I was not a big fan of the direction he took on some of his jazz-pop crossover recordings.   When the Indy Jazz Fest announced he would be one of the headliners at the 2011 festival, I wasn’t that excited but  I hadn’t seen him in years and wanted to photograph him.   Much to my surprise, Benson put on a fantastic show to an overflow crowd at Opti-Park.  At 68 years of age, he voice was great and his playing was great!  He even stopped by another stage for 45 minutes prior to his performance to catch the Guitar Summit, featuring Bill Lancton, Sandy Williams, Frank Steans and Henry Johnson….which was great to see.

 

Live Performances Buddy Guy

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The legendary bluesman Buddy Guy.  This image was made in Indianapolis in June 2008.