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.
Here’s one by mandolin player and Patuxent Music label guru, Tom Mindte.
Local multi-reed player Halley Shoenberg
Nate Leath can play just about any style on the fiddle, and does it all well
Some gorgeous Celtic music by the LILT duo
My good friends EKG tearing up some fabulous Latin-flavored piano jazz in this sophomore release, this time with horns
Al Jones, the son of Bill Monroe, doing some hard-core bluegrass! Pass me that moonshine!
Jazz guitarist Paul Wingo, the living embodiment of all things jazz, livening up the legendary club, Blues Alley
In 1982, The National Endowment for the Arts created an endowment to recognize excellence in the uniquely American musical art form we know as jazz. It has been my great good fortune to be associated with the NEA for a number of years, following a life-long love and appreciation of jazz that began at the feet of my father, listening to Washington, D.C. disc jockey Felix Grant spin records by Charlie Byrd and Stan Getz. In the many years since, I have photographed and designed album covers for several of my heroes, but at no other time am I so blessed to be in the presence of such a concentration of musical giants than when I head to New York City to work with my good friends at the NEA on the yearly JazzMasters events at Jazz at Lincoln Center. Hosted by Wynton Marsalis & Soledad O’Brien, this year saw the celebration of the work and lives of 4 new Masters- Jamey Aebersold, Anthony Braxton, Richard Davis and Keith Jarrett, and four more talented, and diverse artistic souls you could never hope to meet under one roof. As always, it was a pleasure to work with the dedicated and tireless staff at Jazz at Lincoln Center, and all the wonderful folks from the National Endowment for the Arts.
The 2014 Jazz Masters Anthony Braxton, Jamey Aebersold, Richard Davis & Keith Jarrett
A rousing piece of operatic jazz composed by Anthony Braxton
Avant-jazz guitarist Bill Frisell
past JazzMasters Kenny Barron & Jimmy Owens
Keith Jarrett explains all
Thelonius Monk competition winner, saxophonist Melissa Aldana
Annie Ross & Jon Hendricks having a grand old time
Welcome to the Richmond Folk Festival! Originally the National Folk Festival, sponsored by the National Council for the Traditional Arts, the event in Richmond continued after its initial 3 year National run to be a highly successful enterprise in its own right, drawing audiences from far and wide to share in the music, traditions and sense of community fostered by this annual event. I’ve been photographing this fun-filled weekend for the N.C.T.A. since the inaugural year, and it seemed like old times as the rain fell on the waterfront venue, soaking the shoes, but never dampening the spirits of the thousands of festival goers who took part in the good times adjacent to Brown’s Island in Richmond, Virginia.
A little sunshine from Mali
Peruvian Scissor Dancing
The Mighty Sam McClain
The Stooges Brass Band from New Orleans
The Wildman of Polka, Alex Meixner
A little Buck dancing
2nd Generation Bluesman, Lurrie Bell
Youthful Bluegrass w/ The Moore Brothers Band
African Drumming Traditions workshop
Shout Out a big AMEN! w/ Maggie Ingram & The Ingramettes!
The Sultry Sounds of Fado Singer, Nathalie Pires
This is not about the words, my words at least, or even about the images, but simply about the man and HIS music. Last night was not a working evening, but just a chance to see and hear one of my favorite musicians ply his craft in the welcoming venue in Arlington, Virginia known as The Birchmere. Richard Thompson is one of those unique talents who just gets better with age, and any attempt on my part to describe his performances would just be a waste of words. Suffice to say, it was a wonderful evening, and always a joy to hear RT in concert!
Good Morning, Devoted Followers! You have probably been wondering what has become of the Dreamer, but fear not, I have merely been busy with travel and …. believe it or not….. work! It has been a productive summer for CD photography and design, in every genre and musical style! Feast your eyes, and tune up your ears! The latest crop of Michael G. Stewart designed musical packages will be arriving soon.
From Patuxent Music, some wonderful traditional blues
A little bit of everything from super guitarists Frank Vignola and Vinny Raniolo
Just in time for your Holiday Gift-giving, some Christmas Jazz from guitarists Steve Abshire and Vince Lewis
Some more fine jazz from Ambient Records with trumpeter Clay Jenkins, guitarist Gene Bertoncini and bassist Ike Sturm, coming soon!
A whole barrel of fine mandolin pickin’ from legend Frank Wakefield, joined by Taylor Baker and Tom Mindte & friends on the Patuxent Music label
As a rule, I usually work creating images for high end, custom luthiers like my good buddy Matt Artinger up in Emmaus, Pennsylvania. Every so often, however, I do a run of instruments for quirky, smaller re-booted guitar purveyors such as Micro-Frets, or in this case, the Hallmark Guitar Company, run out of Greenbelt, Maryland. As you can see by my photographs, the current Hallmark company leans heavily on designs associated with the former Mosrite company, instruments beloved by surf and 60s style instrumental guitar bands, as well as punk rock favorites, The Ramones. While manufactured in Korea, these are fun and classic guitar styles with an All-American profile.
The Stradette, in gold metal flake & flames
The classic Mosrite silhouette on 4 different basses
The Hitch-hiker, more gold metal flake with a deep German carve!
Once again I count my blessings that I have the good fortune to make a living, however meager, doing what I truly love.
….and I admit it, I love guitars, and everything about them! The variations of their sonic palette is infinite, as are the players that finesse, throttle, bludgeon and seduce those glorious sounds from these musical sculptures of wood & metal. Nowhere else on the planet are more beautiful, and more interesting instruments created than in the humble workshop of luthier Matt Artinger, in Emmaus, Pennsylvania. I’ve known and worked with Matt for over 10 years, and consider myself a lucky man indeed to be able to spend even a few days a year photographing, and playing these stunning instruments. Every one a work of art, every one a player’s dream.