STRINGS & THINGS

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I love guitars! Banjos, mandolins, violins, viola de gambas! Not only do I get to photograph the musicians that make music on these amazing stringed creations, but I also get to work with the especially talented, thoughtful and gifted folks that design and build the instruments that allow musicians to make the noise that we call MUSIC! I recently had the opportunity to document a few of the latest guitars from Pennsylvania luthier Matt Artinger and some stunning banjos from Beltsville, Maryland based Kevin Enoch! Not only are these amazingly beautiful bits of musical eye candy, but they all sound as good as they look. photo Artinger Guitar  photo copyright Michael G. Stewart37.jpg photo Artinger Feb. 2014 copyright photo Michael G Stewart087.jpg photo a blogEnoch Banjos photo copyright Michael G. Stewart110.jpg photo a blogEnoch Banjos photo copyright Michael G. Stewart009.jpg photo a blogEnoch Banjos photo copyright Michael G. Stewart008.jpg photo Artinger Feb. 2014 copyright photo Michael G Stewart105.jpg photo a blogEnoch Banjos photo copyright Michael G. Stewart012.jpg photo a blogEnoch Banjos photo copyright Michael G. Stewart020.jpg photo Artinger Guitar  photo copyright Michael G. Stewart88.jpg
My personal favorite- “The Tokyo Rosie” but, then again, it would be! I got to lend a small hand in the design of this one- Billy Gibbons, eat your heart out! ( now I just need some folks to play with- )

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CD COVERS of 2014

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One of the artistic endeavors that both pays my bills and enriches my soul, is working with the many talented musicians that come to me to help create vibrant packaging for their CD and album covers, as well as promotional portraits and images for their websites and press kits. 2014 was a constructive and varied year for these projects, and 2015 looks to be one of many creative collaborations as well. From jazz, to bluegrass and country, from Irish to early classical, a musician’s visual presentation should always tell the story of his or her musical soul. Here are a few of the projects that I both photographed and designed last year. I’m looking forward to reaching out to some different areas of the musical spectrum this year & creating some truly memorable covers- Maybe for YOU!
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Springfield Exit on the Patuxent Music label photo blog WDON Design Michael G. Stewart fb.jpg
Frank Wakefield & Red Allen photo blog Tis Design Michael G. Stewart fb.jpg photo blog Rira Design Michael G. Stewart fb.jpg photo blog Palmer Design Michael G. Stewart fb.jpg photo blog Matthews Carrara design Michael G. Stewart fb.jpg photo blog Hurt Design Michael G. Stewart fb.jpg photo Banjo Design Michael G. Stewart blog.jpg photo blog BRENNEN Design Michael G. Stewart fb .jpg photo blog Jan Design Michael G. Stewart fb.jpg photo Bluestone Design Michael G. Stewart blogfb.jpg

A CELEBRATION OF THE LIFE & MUSIC of PAUL WINGO

Yesterday, the Washington, D.C. area music community gathered at Calvary Lutheran Church in Silver Spring, Maryland to remember and celebrate the life and music of jazz guitarist- Paul Wingo. Born in Havre de Grace, Maryland in 1946, Paul’s career spanned his early teen years in Cambridge, Maryland playing with the “VOLTS” through his years with the Army’s premier jazz ensemble, The Army Blues, to his many gigs with national and international jazz artists, including Zoot Sims, Phil Woods, Charlie Byrd, Herb Ellis , Steve Allen and Dinah Shore. Paul was a Baltimore jazz institution in his own right, performing every Tuesday night at Bertha’s ( mussels ) Restaurant in Fells Point for 3 decades. ( He even rated a mention in a story by best selling mystery author Laura Lippman ) Paul was known as much for his quiet, gentle  and unassuming personality and as a deeply committed teacher and friend as for his complex and fiery guitar licks. His friends and fellow guitarists and musicians paid their heartfelt goodbyes at this tribute hosted by WPFW-FM host, Tom Cole. A man of peace and profound commitment to his music, Paul will be greatly missed by all those whose lives he touched with his music and deep sense of love and spirituality. photo afbIMG_7872.jpg photo afbIMG_7880.jpg photo afbIMG_7887.jpg
Steve Abshire, looking far too stern for such a lovable guy photo afbIMG_7905.jpg
WPFW’s own Tom Cole photo afbIMG_7913.jpg
Steve Herberman and Steve Abshire
 photo afbIMG_7947.jpgSue Matthews and Steve Herberman
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Bassist Paul Langosch photo afbIMG_7994.jpg
Paul’s student, Andrew Latona
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Aaron Rubinstein and Jan Knutson photo afbIMG_8052.jpg
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Clarinet virtuoso & music educator, Dr. Charles Stier photo afbIMG_8092.jpg photo afbIMG_8106.jpg
Tom Lawrence photo afbIMG_8121.jpg photo afbIMG_8125.jpg photo afbIMG_8134.jpg
Pianist Stef Scaggiari
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 photo afbIMG_8168.jpgFormer Airman of Note, Rick Whitehead
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Christiana Drapkin photo afbIMG_8195.jpg photo afbIMG_8209.jpg
Carlos Barbosa Lima
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Jazz Violinist, Susan Jones
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Saxophonist, Bruce Swaim photo afbIMG_8328.jpg photo afbIMG_8335.jpg photo afbIMG_8352.jpg
Chuck Karner and Laura Lee

PAUL WINGO CELEBRATION

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PLEASE FEEL FREE TO JOIN US IN OUR CELEBRATION OF THE LIFE OF JAZZ GUITARIST- PAUL WINGO, A DEAR FRIEND, TALENTED GUITARIST AND COMPOSER, AND TRULY GENTLE SOUL! THIS TRIBUTE TO THE LIFE OF PAUL WINGO WILL BE HELD ON, SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2014 FROM 1:00-4:00 AT CALVARY LUTHERAN CHURCH, 9545 GEORGIA AVENUE, SILVER SPRING, MARYLAND 20910- ALL ARE WELCOME!! IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PERFORM, OR SHARE ONE OF THE THOUSANDS OF “WINGO” STORIES THAT WE ALL HAVE, PLEASE CONTACT STEVE ABSHIRE at steveabshire33@facebook.com or 301-318-4275 or MICHAEL G. STEWART at michephoto@msn.com TO GET ON THE PROGRAM. WE LOOK FORWARD TO HAVING YOU JOIN US IN CELEBRATION OF A TRULY GIFTED & UNIQUE HUMAN BEING!

THE ART OF CONDUCTING

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Yesterday, I spent the evening freely sharing my time at a rehearsal for the Anne Arundel Community College Symphony Orchestra, with guest soloists Frank Vignola & Vinny Raniolo. The Orchestra was put through its paces under the able guidance of Dr. Anna Binneweg, who has distinguished herself in the areas of symphonic and operatic conducting early in her career. She is the Music Director/Conductor of the Anne Arundel Community College (AACC) Symphony Orchestra (Arnold, MD) where she also serves as Associate Professor of Music, and is the Music Director/Conductor of the Londontowne Symphony Orchestra (Annapolis, MD). Like all accomplished conductors,the beautiful & talented Dr. Binneweg communicates with her Orchestra in a variety of ways, both subtle and dramatic as well as entertaining. Here is a brief photo essay of an evening with the leader of the Anne Arundel Community College Symphony Orchestra. Tomorrow night’s concert should be a smash!
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THE GREAT GUITARS

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There are a lot of great guitarists plying their trade as 6 string gunslingers these days, in every musical genre from rock to pop, classical to folk, from metal to jazz. A world of talent to choose from, and enough diversity to cover the globe and reach out to the heavens! Back in the time before ipods and cell phones, when vinyl ruled the world, three supremely gifted guitarists recorded and toured the world as good-will ambassadors of sound, calling themselves “The Great Guitars”. Charlie Byrd, Barney Kessel and Herb Ellis. ……and truly great they were, as anyone who ever saw of knew them can attest! ( myself included) Alas, these giants are no longer with us. Today, we have a new generation assuming the roles, and (deservedly so) the title of “The Great Guitars”. Peppino D’Agostino, Vinny Raniolo, Martin Taylor and Frank Vignola. These four monsters of the guitar tradition have filled the very large shoes of their mentors and inspirations and filled them with grace and a musical verve equal to the originals. They proved their mettle at a recent concert sponsored by the Levine School of Music held at The Church of the Epiphany in Washington, D.C. on a warm spring evening and set the stage on fire with fretwork that stunned the ears and eyes, from the sublime to the incendiary.
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Martin & Peppino
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Vinny, Frank, Martin & Peppino
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Tearing it up with Vinny & Frank
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Martin, how do you do that?
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Peppino D’Agostino
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The Great Guitars
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The very gifted, Martin Taylor

2013 END OF THE YEAR CD DESIGN

2013 found me bursting with creative collaborations in the form of many CD package designs and photography. The last few months produced a flurry of activity in both jazz and traditional musical forms, working with some of the finest musicians in the business today.  photo ablogcds7.jpg
Here’s one by mandolin player and Patuxent Music label guru, Tom Mindte. photo ablog2.jpg
Local multi-reed player Halley Shoenberg photo Ablog1.jpg
Nate Leath can play just about any style on the fiddle, and does it all well photo ablog5.jpg
Some gorgeous Celtic music by the LILT duo photo ablog4.jpg
My good friends EKG tearing up some fabulous Latin-flavored piano jazz in this sophomore release, this time with horns photo ablog3.jpg
Al Jones, the son of Bill Monroe, doing some hard-core bluegrass! Pass me that moonshine!
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Jazz guitarist Paul Wingo, the living embodiment of all things jazz, livening up the legendary club, Blues Alley