My second Downbeat cover of the year was of Brian Blade and his Fellowship band. They played and Earshot jazz concert at the Seattle Art Museum and I had them in the studio for a portrait session the day before. They were wonderful to photograph and I loved hearing their music.
Brian is an exceptional musician.
GARFIELD HIGH SCHOOL JAZZ BAND, With SPECIAL GUEST MIGUEL ZENÓN, under the direction of Clarence Acox, opened the 2009 Earshot Jazz Festival Friday night to a packed house at the Triple Door. What a great vibe to begin the festival. It is amazing to see some many talented young musicians coming up here in Seattle. What a fantastic show.
Miguel and all of those student sax players were a delight to hear. Photographs by Seattle photographer Daniel Sheehan, a photojournalist specializing in jazz photography and portrait photography for publications and corporations and a Seattle wedding photographer with a story-telling approach creating award winning wedding photography.
Photo: Gray Friedman/ Los Angeles Times
Photojournalist William Claxton died on Sunday at age 80 due to complications from congestive heart failure. He was well known for his iconic pictures of Chet Baker and other musicians as well as celebrities like Steve McQueen and Frank Sinatra.
He is one of the photojournalist I have admired for many years. He inspired me to follow the same road of photography by including jazz musicians as a worthy subject. I love this quote Claxton told jazz writer Don Heckman some years ago.
“For the photographer, the camera is like a jazz musician’s ax. It’s the tool that you would like to be able to ignore, but you have to have it to convey your thoughts and whatever you want to express through it,”
Almost as much as the recordings themselves, the photographs reach into the essence of making music.
“That’s where jazz and photography have always come together for me,” Claxton told Heckman. “They’re alike in their improvisation and their spontaneousness. They happen at the same moment that you’re hearing something and you’re seeing something, and you record it and it’s frozen forever.”
He gained his foremost public recognition for his photographs of jazz performers including Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Mel Torme, Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk and Stan Getz. But it was his photographs of Baker that helped teach him the true meaning of the word photogenic.
“I was up all night developing when the face appeared in the developing tray,” Claxton told the Irish Times in 2005. “A tough demeanor and a good physique but an angelic face with pale white skin and, the craziest thing, one tooth missing — he’d been in a fight. I thought, my God, that’s Chet Baker.”
Claxton’s relationship with Baker began in 1951 and he continued to photograph Baker for the next 6 years in an attempt to capture the relationship between artist, instrument and music on film.
Photographing jazz musicians is one of my editorial favorite subjects. I do a lot of it for Earshot Jazz a non profit organization that promote jazz in the Seattle area. Every year for about 3 weeks around the end of October and the 1st week in November they put on one of the best festivals in the country devoted to jazz.
I have been photographing it for them since 1997 and they use the photos for their monthly magazine “Earshot Jazz” and for the website and for posters promoting the festival. Here are a couple of photographs from the 2007 Earshot Jazz festival.
David Sánchez played with his quartet at the Triple Door last October 25th during the Earshot Jazz Festival 2007. Here is an excerpt from Earshot Jazz Magazine.
David Sánchez commands a room, infusing
his huge tenor-saxophone tone with the musical passion of his native Puerto Rico. Specializing in jazz interpretations of mountainous works by Latin American composers, this Latin Grammy winner and his quartet exude palpable charisma and create music to remember every time.
“Technically, tonally, and creatively, he seems to have it all,” gushes jazz critic Howard Reich. “His sound is never less than plush, his pitch is unerring, his rapid-fire playing is ravishing in its combination
of speed, accuracy, and utter evenness of tone.”
Such ecstatic accolades follow Sánchez wherever he plays. After abandoning early efforts on the conga in favor of the tenor saxophone at age 12, he never looked back. Thanks to the enthusiastic endorsement of saxophonist Paquito D’Rivera, Dizzy Gillespie
invited Sánchez to join the United Nation Orchestra in 1990 and “Live the Future” tour – with South African singer extraordinaire Miriam Makeba – the next year.
Since then, Sánchez has toured and recorded with dozens of other stellar notables and produced sessions for Columbia Records, with which he has enjoyed a lasting relationship as a recording artist. After earning several Latin Grammy nominations, Sánchez released Coral, which took home the “Best Instrumental Album” in 2005. His most ambitiously reverential work to date, Coral documents Sánchez and the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra playing interpretations of masterworks by such Latin American luminaries as Antonio Carlos Jobim, Heitor Villa-Lobos, and Alberto Ginastera.
In his more intimate quartet, Sánchez folds Afro-Cuban rhythms into a mien of late-stage bebop and searing, trigger-happy solos. Newly signed to the resurging Concord Records, he came to Seattle with a growing legend that stands boldly on the cusp a fresh new chapter.
French pianist Jacky Terrasson has charmed audiences on both sides of the Atlantic since winning the Thelonious Monk International Piano Competition in 1993. Capable of summoning both cascades of fl urrying notes and delicate lullabies, with equal resonance, this burgeoning performer and composer has made his recording home with Blue Note Records since 1994. Terrasson’s newest album, a musical self portrait called Mirror, furthers his growing legend with a series of standards and originals that displays his elastic range as a soloist. But it wasn’t easy. “Musically, I like the fact that the music is entirely in my hands,” he says. “There is a tremendous sense of freedom, but that is precisely where this discipline is also a challenge. The feel, the time, rhythm, harmonies are all coming from one person.” Mirror refl ects both Terrasson’s own emotional palette and a range of musical sources. Quoting the licks from the theme songs of television’s Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood (“Everything Happens to Me”) and The Flintstones (“Juvenile”), the album also features works by Duke Ellington, Carole King, Ray Noble, and others. One of its most moving forays, though, comes in the yearning elegance of “America the Beautiful,” in which the Frenchman’s original vision treats the latent potency of that song’s melodies to newly enriched, robustly playful, and suspiciously reverent heights.