Mark Knopfler, Greek Theatre

September 22, 2019 I was 17 the first time I heard “Sultans of Swing”, and I was not amused. Who was this nasally sounding, semi-spoken Brit with circular breathing like hammer-ons? But, it didn’t take me long to figure out that those tunes and that Strat playing were off the charts extraordinary. “Down to the Waterline”, “Water of Love” and, of course, “Sultans”, off Dire Straits eponymous 1978 debut, had a hypnotic ear lock on my head. To this day “Making Movies” is a high watermark that never receded, and “Telegraph Road” (in both it’s studio and live versions) from their follow-up “Love Over Gold” is definitely in the band’s pantheon. Then “Money for Nothing” broke, Knopfler switched his Strat for a Les Paul and the whole world was dialed in, and while I went along, it didn’t have the same nuance and elegance of previous records. The band held on for another few albums and I was fortunate to catch the “On Every Street” tour, their last, in 1991. Knopfler has released 10 solo discs since then and mixes his earlier catalog with this material when he tours. His latest, “Down the Road From Wherever”, is a quieter, thoughtful affair […]
Jun 08
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Reflections and Musings of a Jazz Fest Photographer – 2018 Edition

April 27 – May 6, 2018 Best Jazz Fest ever? It’s a tie between the last one and the next one. Jazz Fest 49 was no exception. Seven Fest days and 30 minutes of rain. Unheard of. Unexpected discoveries? Check. Food I’m still working off? Check. Love in an Elevator? Never mind. Yes, Aerosmith at Jazz Fest had some folks head scratching when announced, but they went over big at their only gig of the year. And, as any Fest vet knows, it ain’t about the BNAs (“big name acts”). While this year was solid with the likes of Sting, Rod Stewart, Beck, Jack White et al. who knew the place would be abuzz over Socks in a Frying Pan from Ireland? Aah, but I digress… This photographer is fortunate to have a few ease in days ahead of Fest and we got in the mood Thursday night with Tony Hall, Terence Higgins, Roosevelt Collier and Jonathon “Boogie” Long funking up Jimi at NOLA Brewing on Tchoup. Fueled by a bellyful of BBQ pork and house brew, this was a boatload of fun with plenty of room to move in the beer warehouse by day room. The playing was loose, […]

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 […]

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 […]

The Revivalists, The Mint

September, 11, 2012 Jazz Fest’s surprise moments can happen any time. One of mine came this year when The Revivalists kicked off the Fest from the Gentilly stage before noon on the opening Friday. While the band has played the Fest the past few years, I was in the dark until that set. Familiar to many native Orleaneans and carving a broader audience through touring in support of acts such as Dr. John, Trombone Shorty and Galactic (and in the next few weeks, Gov’t. Mule), their Fest set was passionate, captivating, and raised the bar early for one of the better Fests ever. Led by guitarist/vocalist David Shaw, the band puts Ed Williams blazing pedal steel right up front with horns, keys and a committed rhythm section to deliver what the esteemed David Fricke dubbed “a Crescent City-rhythm spin on jam-band jubilee”.  To my ear, this is soul-jam influenced rock from New Orleans, with the New Orleans influences taking more of a back seat to driving and occasionally chimey guitars, Shaw’s growl and an undeniable we came to play stage presence (Shaw’s off stage forays and Williams overtopping his pedal steel were sweet spot material for this photographer).   The […]