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

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2014 NEA JAZZ MASTERS

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2014 NEA JAZZ MASTER JAMEY AEBERSOLD

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. photo aFBnea2014portraits.jpg
The 2014 Jazz Masters Anthony Braxton, Jamey Aebersold, Richard Davis & Keith Jarrett photo afbIMG_8972a.jpg
Joe Lovano photo afbIMG_8669.jpg
A rousing piece of operatic jazz composed by Anthony Braxton photo afbIMG_9269.jpg
Avant-jazz guitarist Bill Frisell photo afbIMG_8738.jpg
past JazzMasters Kenny Barron & Jimmy Owens photo afbIMG_8179.jpg
Dave Liebman photo afbIMG_9193.jpg
Keith Jarrett explains all photo afbIMG_8464.jpg
Thelonius Monk competition winner, saxophonist Melissa Aldana photo hendricks.jpg
Annie Ross & Jon Hendricks having a grand old time

2013 RICHMOND FOLK FESTIVAL

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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.
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A little sunshine from Mali
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Peruvian Scissor Dancing
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The Mighty Sam McClain
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The Stooges Brass Band from New Orleans
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The Wildman of Polka, Alex Meixner
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A little Buck dancing
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2nd Generation Bluesman, Lurrie Bell
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Youthful Bluegrass w/ The Moore Brothers Band
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African Drumming Traditions workshop
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Shout Out a big AMEN! w/ Maggie Ingram & The Ingramettes!
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The Sultry Sounds of Fado Singer, Nathalie Pires

RICHARD THOMPSON

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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!
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SUMMER CD COVER DESIGNS

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. photo acdbloge.jpg
From Patuxent Music, some wonderful traditional blues
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A little bit of everything from super guitarists Frank Vignola and Vinny Raniolo
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Just in time for your Holiday Gift-giving, some Christmas Jazz from guitarists Steve Abshire and Vince Lewis
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Some more fine jazz from Ambient Records with trumpeter Clay Jenkins, guitarist Gene Bertoncini and bassist Ike Sturm, coming soon!
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A whole barrel of fine mandolin pickin’ from legend Frank Wakefield, joined by Taylor Baker and Tom Mindte & friends on the Patuxent Music label

HALLMARK GUITARS

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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.
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The Stradette, in gold metal flake & flames
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The classic Mosrite silhouette on 4 different basses
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The Hitch-hiker, more gold metal flake with a deep German carve!
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ARTINGER CUSTOM GUITARS

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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.
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