NEON of the AMERICAN SOUTHWEST

 photo a blog west header_1.jpgHowdy Friends! Long time no see, you might say! Yes, I have been on a bit of a hiatus for the past year,as my life has experienced many changes, but I am happy to say, all for the best. So I hope to get back in the groove and continue to post images that strike my fancy, or elicit an emotional response, or make a statement, or just plain look beautiful or interesting. As the title of this blog states, this is about that vanishing bit of Americana that I love so well, the neon landscape of this wacky and grand country of ours. So for my return to blogging, I present this bit of dreamscape from a recent trip to Arizona and New Mexico, a brief roadtrip down the “Mother road”, Route 66, and a bit of the vanishing commercial artistry of the local neon signage. photo a blog west12.jpg
We stayed here at the Monterey, clean, friendly, and a bit of time travel back to 1976! photo a blog west9.jpg photo a blog west8.jpg photo a blog west 11.jpg
The late, lamented Aztec Motel- now gone, with only this iconic neon remaining photo a blog west7.jpg
I’m getting a message from Sputnik here! photo a blog west6.jpg
The Dog House, in Albuquerque, New Mexico- great place for a hot dog & milk shake! Look for the sign of the happy, wagging tail!  photo a blog west5.jpg photo a blog west 4.jpg photo a blog west3.jpg photo a blog west2.jpg
The El Don- some of the best neon we saw, but the motel has been sadly neglected photo a blog westv10.jpg
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“AIR CONDITIONED by REFRIGERATION!” What could be better?

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

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

THE FACE OF NATURE

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Although I am best known as a photographer who specializes in images of the arts and architecture, I still strive to capture the beauty and personality of characters in the animal kingdom. I recently spent a morning shooting portraits of some other subjects with personalities a bit on the wild side!
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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

MIX & MATCH

Back on the road, this time to beautiful San Francisco! Thousands of images to sort through, but while we wait, let’s match the Bay area greasy spoon to the breakfast standard of bacon & eggs, with a hot cup of Joe!
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The Java House, The Pinecrest Restaurant and It’s Tops! All Tops in my book!

THE ROAD TO MEMPHIS

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Once again, the intrepid traveler and neon explorer has loaded up the trusty Retromobile and set a southwesterly course through Kentucky and on to Tennessee before making my yearly pilgrimage to Princeton and Penningtonfest! As planned, it was a long drive, but one teeming with roadside treasures and surprises galore. My trusty and loyal crew and I were rewarded with new adventures and plenty of bizarre and interesting bits of vanishing small town Americana. …and, of course, plenty of neon, lost commercial ephemera from bygone eras and interesting architecture that the 21st Century has bid a not so fond farewell to in favor of a landscape of homogenized conformity.
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What would a trip to Memphis be without a stop to Graceland. Sorry, no published pictures allowed! Elvis, Elvis!
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Historic Elmwood Cemetery in Memphis- Beautiful!
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Some cool neon in Memphis
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I just LOVED this house- Was formerly a Doctor’s office, now up for sale, but too far from anything to make it practical
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Old small town movie theaters
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Several generations of wildly diverse roadside architecture in the South
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Who knew that rural Tennessee was home to such great Deco design?