For the 4th year, I have been fortunate enough to be the photographer for The National Endowment for the Arts’ annual Jazz Masters awards at Jazz at Lincoln Center, in New York City. While the weather conspired against me ( turning the usual less than 4 hour drive from D.C. into a 6 1/2 hour battle against torrential rains ), the event itself was, as always, a unique opportunity to meet and work with some of the most innovative luminaries of the jazz world, America’s special contribution to musical culture. This year’s class of Masters included pianist, composer & bandleader Carla Bley, saxophonists George Coleman and Charles Lloyd, and Chicago jazz entrepreneur Joe Segal. The award presentation, held in the Rose Theater, was an evening filled with fabulous music, entertaining stories and the warmth that comes with the companionship of old friends. The NEA, and its new Chairwoman Jane Chu, should be commended for helping to keep this most American of art forms alive and relevant, and affording its original innovators the recognition they so richly deserve.
George Coleman – from B.B. King to Miles Davis & beyond
Ira Sullivan performed with Jimmy Heath
Thelonious Monk Award winner Cecile McLorin Salvant performed “Motherless Child” in honor of the Jazz Masters who left us in 2014
Charles Lloyd and company
Category Archives: The Arts
STRINGS & THINGS
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.
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- )
Our recent trip to the American Southwest also presented us with the glories of the desert in springtime. I’ll let the images speak for themselves.
CD COVERS of 2014
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!
Springfield Exit on the Patuxent Music label
Frank Wakefield & Red Allen
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.
Steve Abshire, looking far too stern for such a lovable guy
WPFW’s own Tom Cole
Steve Herberman and Steve Abshire
Sue Matthews and Steve Herberman
Bassist Paul Langosch
Paul’s student, Andrew Latona
Aaron Rubinstein and Jan Knutson
Clarinet virtuoso & music educator, Dr. Charles Stier
Pianist Stef Scaggiari
Former Airman of Note, Rick Whitehead
Carlos Barbosa Lima
Jazz Violinist, Susan Jones
Saxophonist, Bruce Swaim
Chuck Karner and Laura Lee
PAUL WINGO CELEBRATION
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 email@example.com or 301-318-4275 or MICHAEL G. STEWART at firstname.lastname@example.org TO GET ON THE PROGRAM. WE LOOK FORWARD TO HAVING YOU JOIN US IN CELEBRATION OF A TRULY GIFTED & UNIQUE HUMAN BEING!
2014 SHEEP & WOOL FESTIVAL
For several years now, my significant other and I have been attending the Sheep and Wool Festival every May at the Howard County Fairgrounds in suburban Maryland. This may seem like a far cry from the musicians, tattoos, guitars and other fringe gatherings that I usually train my camera on, but believe me, it is as visually absorbing and culturally stimulating as any other event I attend. This time out, I tried to focus on doing a bit of lamb and ram portraiture, as well as the usual carnival parade.
The irrepressible Lynn Zwerling, founder and driving force for “Knitting Behind Bars”.
“What’s that smell?”
Fun for all ages!
THE ART OF CONDUCTING
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!
THE GREAT GUITARS
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.
Martin & Peppino
Vinny, Frank, Martin & Peppino
Tearing it up with Vinny & Frank
Martin, how do you do that?
The Great Guitars
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.
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