Archive for the ‘music’ Category

Music in a metallic rainbow

Friday, April 17th, 2015

Last weekend I played music inside a metallic rainbow. The song was Sugar Boom, and the tenor steel drum reflected blue, yellow, violet, green and orange up into my face as I was playing. I needed a GoPro attached to my forehead.

Tenor at rest during a lighting test

Tenor at rest during a lighting test

With my hands busy playing, the photos I could get were between songs during rehearsal.

Five steel bands came together, thanks to musician Alain Rouaud, and played three concerts in MPAA’s (Maison des Pratiques Artistiques Amateurs) lovely auditorium in the Marché St. Germain in Paris. As a part of MPAA’s group, I was absolutely thrilled to play with 70 other steel drummers and 5 percussionists.

Guitar pan in stage lights

Guitar pan in stage lights

I’m not being an exaggerating American when I say “absolutely thrilled.” I was full of joyful tears when I heard our sound swell from 18 drummers to the sound of 70, supported by the engine machine of percussionists behind us. I was overwhelmed and I hope to never forget it. The first time only happens once.

The guitar steel pan on which I played Mambo Lake and Steel Biguine

The guitar steel pan on which I played Mambo Lake and Steel Biguine

Goodbye Coolin

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

Sunday nights at the Coolin were a treat.
Like the ritual of a Sunday night dinner with family.

Ellen Berge Birath showing her affection for Paddy Sherlock.

Ellen Berge Birath showing her affection for Paddy Sherlock.

Once it’s renovated, it’ll be a dead space on Sunday nights, an Apple store on other days. Fabulous. We totally need another Apple store. I’ll probably never walk through those doors again. Nothing against Apple (I’m typing on a Mac, it’s my most important tool after my camera) but I buy online. You see one Apple store, you’ve seen them all. And the Coolin was just an Irish pub, but it wasn’t like any I’d known before.

Thomas Join-Lambert, Marten Ingle, and Ellen Birath.

Thomas Join-Lambert, Marten Ingle, and Ellen Birath.

The good news is the beat goes on, and the wonderfully talented people who created this special place, and their family of fans will continue in another neighborhood across the river and into the 8th.

These photos are from Saturday, March 21st,
the last gig at the Coolin. Marché St. Germain, Paris.
Additional photos of the mayhem can be found here.

Dancers behind the stage, between Marten Ingle and Yoshito Kiyono.

Dancers behind the stage, between Marten Ingle and Yoshito Kiyono.

Jazz Pas Grave III, Day 2

Monday, June 16th, 2014

Some highlights from day 2…

Antonin Fresson, Quadri-Cor

Antonin Fresson, Quadri-Cor

Yoann Godefroy and singer Kephny Eliacin

Yoann Godefroy and singer Kephny Eliacin

Balthazar Regea, from Soma Age

Balthazar Regea, from Soma Age

Antoine and Martin Beux, with Jungles Key

Antoine and Martin Beux, with Jungles Key

Maxime Bureau, with Soma Age

Maxime Bureau, with Soma Age

Mac, the funny front man of Funk Me Tender

Mac, the funny front man of Funk Me Tender

Beautiful profiles in the crowd, just because

Beautiful profiles in the crowd, just because

Jazz Pas Grave, Day 1

Saturday, June 14th, 2014

While still processing last week’s classical music fest photos, this weekend I’m photographing Jazz Pas Grave, the 3rd edition of a festival at 59 Rivoli that brings some really fabulous musicians together. Some highlights while I’m waiting for the next concert to start…

Elbi Baueur singing with Radztitone in the opening concert of Jazz Pas Grave III

Elbi Baueur singing with Radztitone in the opening concert of Jazz Pas Grave III

Antoine Beux playing with Rising Cloud Orchestra

Antoine Beux playing with Rising Cloud Orchestra

Alessandro Sgobbio improvising

Alessandro Sgobbio improvising

Mario Forte

Mario Forte

And our energetic team of volunteers passing out the program in sidewalk traffic…

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Le Classique C’est pour les Vieux – Day 2

Sunday, June 8th, 2014

I spent day two of the classical music festival at 59 Rivoli filming and real-time editing the live stream. My ambition was to be photographer and videographer at once, but that really isn’t possible. Taking 25 photos a second on five different cameras, with my 6D around my shoulders, I photographed the screen in front of me. We had placed the cameras better than I was able to place myself. Here are some highlights of the Quoatuor van Kuijk and the Collectif Warning.

Sound check, van Kuijk quartet

Sound check, van Kuijk quartet

Sébastien van Kuijk and his cello, the van Kuijk quartet.

Sébastien van Kuijk and his cello, the van Kuijk quartet.

Grégoire Vecchioni and Sébastien van Kuijk , of the van Kuijk quartet

Grégoire Vecchioni and Sébastien van Kuijk , of the van Kuijk quartet

Olivier Stankiewicz, Carmen Lefrançois and Barbara Giepner, of the Collectif Warning

Olivier Stankiewicz, Carmen Lefrançois and Barbara Giepner, of the Collectif Warning

Sound painter Vincent LêQuang, Collectif Warning

Sound painter Vincent LêQuang, Collectif Warning

Sound painter Vincent LêQuang, Collectif Warning

Sound painter Vincent LêQuang, Collectif Warning

Le Classique C’est Pour les Vieux – Day 1

Saturday, June 7th, 2014

Yesterday a 3-day classical music festival, which thinks outside of the box of what we might expect “classical” music to be, kicked off at 59 rue de Rivoli in Paris. This is the 3rd edition that I’ve photographed for them. This year two concerts were performed in the St Merri church, and the last concert of the night, Le Cabaret Contemporain, an electronic-dance-classical-move-your-body hybrid, transformed the 59 gallery into a nightclub.

The street performance with Léa Scher, Sabine Rivière and Luise Hakim interacts with curious pedestrian traffic

The street performance with Léa Scher, Sabine Rivière and Luise Hakim interacts with curious pedestrian traffic

Le Spat'sonore, 6th floor

Le Spat’sonore, 6th floor

Simone, Le Cabaret Contemporain

Simone Drappier, Le Cabaret Contemporain

During Le Cabaret Contemporain concert

Fabrizio Rat, pianist.  Le Cabaret Contemporain

Fabrizio Rat, pianist. Le Cabaret Contemporain

L'itinéraire, St Merri church

L’itinéraire, St Merri church

Duo Links performs 'Studi sulla note" in the St Merri church

Duo Links performs ‘Studi sulla note” in the St Merri church

Jazz Pas Grave II – day three

Monday, June 11th, 2012

After three days of sitting very close to the open mouths of saxophones and trumpets, today I’m editing photos in silence, saving my ears for tomorrow night when Nicolas Genest plays at the Zebre in Belleville, with many invited guests, Célinn (below) possibly being one of them.


Célinn et l’Arbre des Songes

Mario Forte, visually and musically captivating.

Surprise guest Jean-Loup Longnon blew me away with his trumpet playing, and then again after hours, spontaneously on the piano.

Not an easy place to play, but rather a rite of passage at 59 Rivoli… a jam session with Antoine Beux in the Musée Igor Balut, a creation of the artist inconnu, Suisse Marocain.

More info on the festival : Jazz Pas Grave.

Jazz Pas Grave II – day two

Sunday, June 10th, 2012


Tony Tixier and his intense relationship with the piano.


3someSisters. They may look like clowns, but they have the most stunning and impeccably choreographed voices.


Louis Carrion, of the group Funkable


Singer performing with the group Funkable.

What are they doing in there?

Jazz Pas Grave II – day one

Saturday, June 9th, 2012

A few marvelous moments from the first of a three-day jazz festival at 59 rue de Rivoli in Paris.


Nicolas Genest with his group Hati


Guest sax player with O.R.U.S. Quartet


Malamente and Frank Cosentini of Guappecarto


Store-front concert on rue de Rivoli being saved into a compact camera

D – 2 weeks: 40 hours of jazz

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

Loosely defined, a plethora of genres, a place for musicians to meet and collaborations to form…. In two weeks I’ll be photographing a three-day jazz festival at 59 rue de Rivoli in Paris. These guys will be playing. Les Guappecarto. They are lovely subjects to have in front of the camera. Gorgeous music too.

Pierre La Braguette, Malamente, Professor, Frank Cosentini, & Dr. Zingarone

Frank Cosentini of Guappecarto

Dr. Zingarone of Guappecarto.

Paddy & Linda & Candles, Oh My

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

A night with Paddy Sherlock and his band at The Coolin in Paris
heals all wounds.

It’s even better when he plays Lulu le Chat
and it’s your birthday.

Linda McCluskey turns 23

Manuel & Music

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Barry Desmond Jones, Manuel Baldassare and Schimon, playing music after a vernissage at 59 rue de Rivoli

When he makes art his insides come out – through his voice, through his hands, in painting, installation or music – and it appears to be as natural as breathing.

An illustrative story…one night we were at a jazz club. One of those on rue des Lombards. It was more or less a jam session night. He went out to smoke, and when he came back inside he made a B line straight for the stage and started playing the congas. I didn’t know he’d met one of the musicians outside, who invited him up to play. What I saw was my friend boldly going on stage without a word and playing like his life depended on it. Shy people like myself are in awe of such confidence and would like it to rub off.

This was Manu last year.
He still smiles like he did when I met him.

Manuel singing Freedom with as much emotion as Richie Havens

Manu’s site, for a look into his twisted universe.

Strange Things

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

Fear can be so annoying. I was alone in the big old house this afternoon when the electricity went out. I was printing in the basement darkroom. I had just put paper in the developer tray, and when everything went black I immediately abandoned it and fled upstairs. Robert Plant and Alison Krauss were singing “Strange things are happening everyday…” on my computer.

No fuses were blown, no apparent reason for it. Perhaps someone was working on the line. Not long afterward the lights came back, at the same time a student from the folkehøgskule came to play the piano in the “green room.”

Back down in the darkroom, I could hear his beautiful music through the ceiling and it calmed my nerves. I spent the rest of the day printing without any other weirdness. Wait, except one thing, but it can probably be explained. I’ll write about that in a later post.

The orange room with red curtains. My bedroom window in the un-haunted house on Halsnoy.

Jazz heals all wounds

Saturday, June 4th, 2011

Two weekends ago I photographed a 3-day jazz festival at 59 rue de Rivoli in Paris. During these days it occurred to me that jazz just may heal all wounds. There is music that can open wounds and even inflicts wounds, music that reminds you of old wounds, and music that reminds you of what has already healed.

In any mood, on any day, jazz is welcome to my ears. Of course, there is a huge range within it and I have a preference for the 50s (ah, imagine driving in a 1954 Panhard Dyna Z listening to Buddy Murrow…). But sometimes the right medicine is simply a freely traveling saxophone (Isaac Kemo can make his growl) or the muffled voice of a trumpet to take me away. And other times I crave jumping ragtime, funk or soul, something highly improvised or something slow and blue. The uniqueness of the genre, in my life, is that I will never say no to it.

Nicolas Moreau and Melvin Marquez playing with Tiss Rodriguez

Exception: free jazz is only desirable live.

Making it a real job

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

A birthday gift from my dad, I got to see Joe Bonamassa in concert tonight at the Olympia in Paris. I recently joked that his music had become the new family religion. I’m proud to say we’re a Chicago family and like big guitar sounds and blues.

It was one of the best concerts I have ever seen. He played almost 2 and a half hours and looked like he loved it as much as we did. When leaving, my spirits were so high I couldn’t fit into the metro and had to walk all the way home.

At one point Joe said he had taken a photo of the facade of the Olympia and sent it to his mother so she’d stop bugging him about getting a real job. He’d made it. Well I think he did that quite a while ago (opened for B.B. King at the age of 12! and will have his 34th birthday in a couple of days). It made me think of my parents and their relation to photography as “a real job.” I think they now believe I’m capable and do not worry as much, even if I have not reached the level of the Olympia.

May 5, 2011. Bonamassa at the Olympia.

The only thing Nietzsche ever said that made immediate sense to me

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

A glance at my bookshelf

Isaac Kemo, merci pour la danse

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

He discreetly introduced himself and his band members to a very full house at 59 Rivoli last night. He spoke of being told as a child in the Ivory Coast that music is a universal language and that tonight he was laying this offering at our feet. From then on he spoke mostly jazz to our grateful ears.

Carlos Gbaguidi, Isaac Kemo and Gbady X/Effi Armand

Isaac Kemo and guest appearance by Jean-Philippe Rykiel

Isaac Kemo, giving thanks

Near the end of the set, he suddenly leaned over me, gently picked up my camera and set it aside, and took my hand. For a lovely moment we danced. He, me and that beautiful sax.

A classical weekend at 59

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

I spent the weekend photographing a classical music festival at 59 (click here for the story of 59 rue de Rivoli in Paris). It was an ambitious undertaking, with concerts in the ground-floor gallery every hour, 10 hours a day, as well as performances on all six floors. It was open to the public and all completely free, or however much you felt like contributing.

A piano was somehow maneuvered into Suisse’s Musée Igor Balut, where Lise Charrin was playing Bach and Scarlatti.

Lise Charrin nestled in the Musée Igor Balut with piano

A night at the Vagabond : Barbès II.

Monday, April 26th, 2010

Sometimes, when you think life can’t get any better, a piano rolls through the door and everything changes.

Thursday night’s vernissage of Vagabond Gallery’s Barbès Pas Grave II found us painting on Gaki and dancing to rag-time. TOUT est possible à Paris, don’t listen to Parisiens who say otherwise.

The list of creatives showing work included myself, Gaki, Adulkid, Yasuyo Iso, Kana Ueno, Etsuko Kobayashi, Sebastien Lecca, Kim Quach and Michel Vray.

Vincent Ange, Vagabond curator and catalyst. Vagabond entrance.

My wall of photos.

Kim Quach and Pascal Foucart watch as Yasuyo preps Gaki.

Gaki-zen

Gaki-zen getting cold on cement floor as we paint on him.

Sebastien Lecca, Kim Quach and Etsuko Kobyashi painting.

Slowly getting up from the collaboration, he finishes the painting, adds glue and other elements to the void where his body had been.

Gaki rechauffé, with Michel Vray.

During a pause in the action, I’m talking to a German artist about her self-explorations in super-8 while someone orders a piano.

Turns out, Philippe Bas doesn’t go anywhere without his upright.

And I thought my camera bag was heavy.
At least I don’t have to worry about parking.

The excitement and anticipation, while he pushes his piano into place, makes it feel like Christmas morning with Saint Nick making a surprise personal visit. And he hadn’t even played anything yet! Somehow we knew.

This music just makes people HAPPY.

Philippe Bas playing stride lit a fire under this woman.

Piano and good times

Honky Tonk Night in Paris

Sunday, March 21st, 2010

Ah the slide guitar is comforting…
And Sal Bernardi plays it like it’s an extension of his body.

Friends had a gig for “honky tonk night” at the Café Courant on Friday.
When I hear country music in Paris,
I get homesick.

Is there a music more uniquely American?

Ericka Knudson: vocals and guitar
Tommy Arnold: bass and vocals
Russ Hoag; percussion
and Sal Bernardi: guitar