Robert Plant & the Sensational Space Shifters, Orpheum Theatre

    March 2, 2018 The last date of the Carry Fire Winter tour landed Robert Plant at the beautiful Orpheum Theatre in DTLA. The tour has stuck to smaller venues (the Orpheum holds about 2,000) while drawing on a consistent set list of multiple tunes from both “Carry Fire” and “Lullaby and the Ceaseless Roar”, as well as a few quieter Zeppelin touchstones and other blues and traditional material.  The chance to see Plant in such intimate confines throughout the tour was special, considering the next time he’ll be in SoCal will be as headliner at the second day of Arroyo Seco Weekend. But it was also special, because the room so fit the music coming from the stage. Adventurous, personal, rooted in history, but not confined by it.  Ten years ago when the Raising Sand collaboration brought Plant together with Alison Krauss, the incredibly talented singer, songwriter and fiddle player, she of the bluegrass origins and more Grammys on her shelf than any other singer or female artist ever, it struck me as a WTF leap that could have been a disaster. Instead the critically acclaimed (and Grammy winning) project knocked me out that he could even pull […]

Tedeschi Trucks Band, Orpheum Theatre

November 11, 2017 Spoiler alert – pretty sure this won’t be an objective take on what transpired at the second of two nights with the Tedeschi Trucks Band at the historic Orpheum Theater in DTLA. I flat out think the TTB is one of the best touring bands on the road anywhere. It’s not just the nimbleness of a 12-piece unit that can fly like a jazz trio, or the cauldron that launches Derek Trucks’ journeys, or the purr to a growl joy of Susan Tedeschi matching those Strat/Tele/Les Paul driven sparks. TTB jams with intention and purpose built on a foundation of soul and blues, in their own voices and fused by those recently and long departed. To cut through it, the world hurts right now. In a big way. Music, the good stuff, whatever that it is for you, matters more than anytime since I’ve been around. The TTB is my good stuff, and damn, if I don’t want that to wash over me any chance I get. That chance was Saturday night. The 15-tune, two-plus hour set went deep, but really took off for me with “Midnight in Harlem”, a deceivingly languid stroll beautifully sung by Susan […]

Jim Brock Photography and Revel Cafe & Bar

Working with owners Chris and Laura McMillan, a select group of Jim Brock Photography open edition prints will be displayed at Revel Cafe & Bar in Mid-City New Orleans, beginning Sunday November 5, 2017. If you are in town, drop by Revel next Sunday between 6:30 and 8:30 for some nibbles and beverages and a chance to catch up when it’s not the craziness of Jazz Fest.  To those who haven’t checked out Revel, this gastro lounge founded by fourth generation bartender McMillan, with food by chef Jose Ayala, is a personal favorite go-to along Carrollton and I am really tickled that Chris and Laura McMillan have kindly offered Revel to display my work.  As a photographer based far from New Orleans, I can’t keep my lens away from its musical heartbeat. I know I am a visitor, an interloper of sorts, deeply drawn by what I hear and what I see. It is especially meaningful that these prints have a home in New Orleans and I am proud and grateful they do.

Newport Folk Festival, Ft. Adams, Rhode Island

July 29-30, 2017 “These songs are a living language”, Billy Bragg told the crowd early in his Harbor Stage set with Joe Henry at the Newport Folk Festival on Saturday. Six words that pretty much sum up the heart and soul of this legacy event that sits atop so much musical history. So, true to form, one of the more anticipated Sunday performances was Speak Out! A set that started with the rollicking Preservation Hall Band horns slowing “When the Saints Come Marching In” down to a somber crawl, bleeding into the National Anthem before singer Kyle Craft launched into Bowie’s “Heroes”. A band that grew to include Austin’s Shakey Graves and My Morning Jacket’s Carl Broemel and others, with Graves leading the first person Trumpian rant “I’m Better Than You”. Newport Folk is about the words and the music. Songs that stir and shake, songs you shake your ass to, songs that provoke, songs that matter. But it’s also about discovery of new voices and sounds, and the fingerprints of founder George Wein still carting around Ft. Adams, and the guiding hand of producer Jay Sweet. Newport is about surprises, highlighted this year by the “unannounced” return of Nathaniel […]

Arroyo Seco Weekend, Brookside Golf Course, Pasadena

June 24-25, 2017 Festival behemoth AEG and Goldenvoice are at it again, launching the inaugural Arroyo Seco Weekend after years of negotiations with the City and citizens of Pasadena, securing a 10-year deal at Brookside Golf Course, adjacent to the Rose Bowl. It’s a family forward music festival with free entry for kids under 10, a relaxed park setting, good grub and libations and a first year lineup that was more than just respectable, it had personality. Mixing big name headliners (Tom Petty and Mumford & Sons), Fest friendly mid-tiers (Dawes, Alabama Shakes), some 90s love (The Shins, Live), a hefty does of New Orleans (The Meters, Galactic, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, The Revivalists), quite respectable jazz, soul and and blues (John Mayall, Charles Bradley, Bennie Maupin, Roy Ayers), and a number of indie comers, there was also a refreshing lack of EDM or rap/hip hop to the lineup. The price point was fair, and keeping the inaugural event to three stages and two days (three days are planned in the future), was probably a pretty smart move, even more so with record breaking heat on Sunday that felt more Coachella than DTLA proximate. Freshman fests inevitably have a few […]
May 28
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REFLECTIONS AND MUSINGS OF A JAZZ FEST PHOTOGRAPHER – 2017 EDITION

Heading home from Jazz Fest 48 it seemed I’d passed through a lifetime’s worth of sounds, tastes and bonding since arriving in New Orleans a few weeks back. Friendships deepened, the palette was bathed in constant indulgence, the liver took a bit of a hit and a soundtrack that will echo well into the dog days of Summer still resonates sweetly. For the uninitiated, Jazz Fest (short for the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival) is the most diverse musical party on the planet replete with 13 stages, tents and pavilions spread across the Fair Grounds Race Course, a few miles from the French Quarter. Quite simply, there is nothing like it. And, as with the city that bears its name, Jazz Fest is not something you wrap your head around, it’s something you feel in your exhausted and happy bones. And, man, were they exhausted and happy.  My perspective is of a working photographer first and a fan second. I am on task covering 15 – 20 acts and 7-8 miles of ground a day. My musical encounters are often brief, and occasionally cosmically timed. My colleagues in the pit are extremely talented and a pretty respectful and decent bunch to […]

Cameron Graves, Planetary Prince Album Release, The Troubadour

March 16, 2017 The “world famous” Troubadour is not the first venue that comes to mind for boundary morphing contemporary piano driven ensemble jazz. But then, the L.A. based collective known as the West Coast Get Down, has yet to do anything by the books. It’s been a heady 2017 already for these dudes coming on the heels of bassist Miles Mosley’s headlining date at the El Rey in January, drummer Ronald Bruner Jr.’s album release party at the Teragram a few weekends back and saxophonist Kamasi Washington’s post-Epic musical and visual installation for the Whitney Biennial in NYC. Last week, it was pianist Cameron Graves turn to front this band of one/band of many, for the drop of his stellar CD, “Planetary Prince” on Mack Avenue Records (disclaimer, more astronomical adjectives could follow). Like Mosley before him, Graves got a well deserved shout out as one of 10 new artists you need to know this year by Rolling Stone, and for good reason IMHO. My ears have been pretty stuck on “Planetary Prince” the past few weeks. With eight tracks covering almost 80 minutes and the shortest clocking in at 7:28, there is an emotional arc to each built […]

West Coast Get Down, El Rey Theatre

January 28, 2017 The West Coast Get Down is better known as the L.A. collective of talent including saxophonist Kamasi Washington. Washington has commanded a lot of attention the past few years, and for good reason. That audacious 3-disc debut, “The Epic” on Brainfeeder, his collaboration with Kendrick Lamar, and 2016 dates at Bonnaroo and Coachella, to name a few. But for a change, this isn’t about Washington. This is about the band that brings those head spinning sonics to life in studio and performances. When I finally caught up with Washington for the first time at the 2016 Newport Jazz Festival, I was pretty knocked out, but when upright bassist Miles Mosley took center stage, uh, the dimension took on another dimension. Whether feverishly bowing with Hendrix like distortion and effects, or running the neck, Mosley, has mad presence and skills. The LA Weekly dubbed him “an assassin on the upright bass” for good reason and Rolling Stone called him out as one of 10 new artists you need to know, and he has a rather impressive resume of his own (Jeff Beck, Rihanna, Lamar, to drop a few names, not to mention extensive film and television credits). It’s […]

Anders Osborne, The Troubadour

November 11, 2016 A bill of New Orleans’ Anders Osborne with Texas drenched songwriter James McMurtry at the Troubadour was just the salve for this soul after a tumultuous and historic week. Both delivered on a night of well spun tales and songwriting excellence armed with nothing more than a few guitars and a stirring songbook. When Osborne announced his second date at the Troubadour this year (he performed with his current band in late March), it came as a bonus to any Southland fan. Osborne has been prolific of late, releasing two records just this year (Flower Box and Spacedust & Ocean Views). And, yes, as a guitar jam junkie I missed the full monty of his plugged in band, but the depth of his quieter tunes shown brilliantly in this solo setting, as it has when I’ve happened upon acoustic Osborne with frequent mates John Fohl and Johnny Sansone at Liuzza’s By The Track, or Chickie Wah Wah in New Orleans, or sharing the stage with the Southern Soul Assembly of Luther Dickinson, Osborne, JJ Grey and Marc Broussard here in Los Angeles in 2014. Friday at the Troub, his vocals were as strong and clear and poignant […]

Newport Jazz Festival 2017

Jim Brock Photography is proud to contribute to the Newport Festival tradition with this splash image for next year’s Jazz Festival, the first under incoming Artistic Director Christian McBride.. Early flex tickets available now.