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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.

News Kidd Jordan

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This is a photograph of me and friend Edward “Kidd” Jordan, taken out back of the Jazz Showcase in Chicago this year, a month or so before his 77th Birthday.  Kidd was in Chicago for the 2nd Annual “Brotherhood of Fred” show, paying well deserved respect to the late, great Fred Anderson.

Kidd is originally from Crowley, Louisiana and is currently back in his home in New Orleans (watch for his guest spot on the HBO series “Treme” as well), after being displaced for many years by hurricane Katrina.  I met Kidd several years ago on one of his frequent trips to Chicago.  He was very close to Fred Anderson, another great tenor player and for some time, it was rare to see one without the other.  Kidd would be in town to play nightly “after-sets” at Fred’s Velvet Lounge, during the Chicago Jazz Fest.  These after-sets would become legendary before Fred’s untimely death in June of 2010.  I was actually in NYC to photograph the Vision Festival, where Fred (and Kidd) were scheduled to play when I got word of Fred’s death.  I was actually speaking with Kidd at the time I received the call.  Fred had fallen ill a few weeks before and while we all held out hope Fred would recover, it just wasn’t to be.   That evening, pianist Richard Muhal Abrams dedicated his solo performance to Fred.

Kidd has played with so many other legendary players including Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Ornette Coleman, Henry Grimes, Cecil Taylor, Canonball Adderley…really too many to list but you get the idea.  Kidd was also given the Vision Festival’s Lifetime Recognition Award in 2008, well deserved and I was happy to be there for it.  I recall that particular night being in a very small venue on the lower-eastside with no air-condition..during the middle of a heatwave in NYC….    To say Kidd is a wonderful person would be an understatement and I take every opportunity to see him when I can!

This photograph was made by another friend, John Broughton.




News Chuck Workman: 1932 – 2012

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I was very sad to get the news that my good friend, Chuck Workman passed away on March 25th at the age of 79.  Chuck was a local jazz radio personality and had spent the better part of  several decades supporting and promoting jazz in all its forms in Indianapolis.  Chuck was the consummate professional and was always there to provide assistance on several programs I put together.   Chuck hosted jazz/arts programs on the radio for many years, most recently at WICR for the past several years.  He also penned a jazz column for Nuvo Newsweekly for the past 17 years.   The photo below was made at the 2010 Indy Jazz Festival in Opti-Park.

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.


Live Performances Bill Dixon with the Exploding Star Orchestra

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This photograph of the great trumpet player Bill Dixon was made in Chicago during the 2007 Chicago Jazz Fest.  Dixon was a featured performer with the Exploding Star Orchestra.




Live Performances Billy Wooten

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These images of Vibist Billy Wooten and guitarist Steve Weakley were made during the summer of 2011, just prior to their performance at the Arts Garden in downtown Indianapolis.  Both of these guys are fun to be around, very upbeat and positive with a ton of interesting stories about the late 60′s & early 70′s in Naptown.

I met Billy for the first time around 2004.  The naming rights to the Indy Jazz Fest had been purchased by the American Pianist Association earlier in the year after being run by the original organization for several years.  Many of the musicians in town were not happy with the direction of the festival and local musician Keni Washington and others organized a one night festival to take place the day after the Indy Jazz Fest.  The best of the best Indianapolis musicians were in attendance….Slide Hampton, Freddie Hubbard, Jimmy Spaulding, Jimmy Coe, Pookie Johnson, Phil Ranelin and just about every other jazz musicians associated with the Indy scene.  Billy was one of the guys playing this night.  Shortly after the set ended, everyone will milling around on stage and I decided to join them.  I got into a conversation with Jimmy Spaulding as I had met him the prior year.  Freddie Hubbard joined the conversation along with Billy.  Freddie and Jimmy had lived next to each other growing up so much of the conversation was reminiscing about that.  Although I don’t recall exactly what Billy and I spoke about, I recall I left there thinking here was a guy with a lot to say.

Billy was born in NYC and after spending most of the 60s on the road, he visited and ultimately moved to Indianapolis.  Billy has played with many great artists during his career including Donny Hathaway, Jerry Butler, Gladys Knight & Smokey Robinson.    Billy had a great band here in Indy called “Wooden Glasss” which was my introduction to his music.  In 1972, Billy recorded a now-legendary lp called “Wooden Glass Live featuring Billy Wooten” which was recorded in Indianapolis at a club called “The 19th Whole” where Billy played for 6 years.  If you’re a fan of the B3, guitar, vibes, drums and just funky music in general, track this cd down!  In addition, you’ll find Billy on “Visions” and “Shades of Green”, two recordings with one of my favorite guitarists, Grant Green.  Billy along with drummer Mad Harold Cardwell, another Indy based musician spent about 3 years with Grant.

Billy and long time friend and great guitarist Steve Weakley



Billy’s vibes and mallets





Billy Wooten