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 […]

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
by Jim Brock in Reviews 0 comments tags: 20 Feet From Stardom, Aaron Neville, Aaron Wilkinson, Acura Stage, Adonis y Osain Del Monte, Alabama Shakes, Alex McMurray, Americana, Anders Osborne, Batiste family, Beausoleil, Blodie's Jazz Jam, blog, blues guitar, blues photography, Blues Tent, Blues Traveller, Bonerama, Brady Blade, brass bands, Brittany Howard, Buddy Guy, cajun music, Carl Dufrene, Charles Neville, Chris Mule, concert photography, Congo Square Stage, Cowboy Mouth, Craig Klein, Cuba Pavilion, Cuban music, Dairus Rucker, Dave Matthews, Dave Torkanowsky, David Shaw, Dawes, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Dumpstaphunk, Economy Hall Tent, Eric Lindell, Eric McFadden, ES-335, Eye on the Music, Fais Do-Do Stage, Galactic, Gentilly Stage, George Porter, Gibson Firebird, Gospel Tent, Greg Hicks, Gregory Davis, Harry Connick, Heartbreakers, Helen Gillet, Honey Island Swamp Band, Instruments a Comin', Ivan Neville, jam bands, Jazz and Heritage Stage, Jazz Epistles, jazz photography, JBP website, Jeff Raines, Jeff Tweedy, Jesse McBride, Jim Brock Photography, Jimmy Herring, Joey Alexander, John Bell, John Boutte, John Popper, Johnny Sansone, Jon Batiste, Jonathon Boogie Long, Jonny Lang, Judith Owen, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Kris Royal, Kristin Diable, Lagniappe Stage, Lake Street Dive, Lakland bass, Leo Nocentelli, Leon Bridges, Lisa Fischer, live music photography, Lone Bellow, Lorde, Lucien Barbarin, Margo Price, Mark Mullins, Michael Doucet, Mike Campbell, Mr Sipp, music photography, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, New Orleans music, Pedrito martinez, Rachael Price, Revivalists, Rhiannon Giddens, Rickenbacker, rock photography, roots music, Roots of Music, Runnin' Pardners, Skerik, Stanton Moore, Stay Human, Stevie Wonder, Taylor Goldsmith, Telecaster, Terence Blanchard, The Meters, Threadhead, Tipitina's Foundation, Tips Interns, Tom Petty, Tony Hall, Tower of Power, traditional jazz, Trey Anastasio. Languedoc, Trombone Shorty, trumpet, Tuxedo Brass, Voice of the Wetlands All-Stars, Waylon Thibodeaux, Wayne Toups, Widespread Panic, Wilco, WWOZ Jazz Tent, zydecajun

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 […]

KAABOO 2016

September  16-18, 2016 KAABOO is an art and food festival with a serious music problem – a weekend away with a killer soundtrack. With a year to percolate since last year’s inaugural, KAABOO again flashed musical diversity, tasty cuisine, artisanal liquids, five-story art, good humor and an abundance of creature comforts around the historic Del Mar Fairgrounds. It’s an event and region meant for each other.The brainchild of entrepreneur Bryan Gordon, KAABOO is also a refreshing break from the AEG, Goldenvoice and Live Nation events that dominate much of the festival landscape. Sophomore KAABOO was not without its hiccups, but its place in the California festival landscape is certainly secure. Aerosmith saw to that. The unlikely pairing of Macy Gray and Chris Isaak kicked off the event Thursday night for those with “Amplify” passes. Her set was frothy, funky, full of sexuality and maybe a little lost on the not so danceable crowd, while his was schmaltzy, entertaining and well rehearsed with his band of 30 years (and the guy can still hit all the high notes of “Wicked Game” without flinching and probably ages slower than the rest of us). Not to mention there was so much good food being […]
May 23
by Jim Brock in Reviews 0 comments tags: Aaron Wilkinson, Acura Stage, alt-country, Americana, Anders Osborne, BB King tribute, Ben ellman, Big Sam Williams, Billy Gibbons, Blodie's Jazz Jam, blues, Blues Tent, Bonnie Raitt, Boz Scaggs, Brandi Carlile, Brian Blade, Buddy Guy, Carl Dufrene, Chris Mule, classic rock, Clevenger, concert photography, Congo Square Stage, Cyril Neville, Dap Kings, Dave Malone, David Shaw, Derek Trucks, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Donald Fagen, Economy Hall, Efrem Towns, Elvis Costello, Eye on the Music, Fais Do-Do Stage, Gal Holiday, Galactic, Gary Clark Jr., Gentilly Stage, Gibson SG, Gov't Mule, Gregory Porter, Herbie Hancock, Herlin Riley, hip hop, Honey Island Swamp Band, Hot 8 Brass Band, J Cole, Jack DeJohnette, jam bands, jam bands Susan Tedeschi, Janelle Monae, Jarekus Singleton, Jazz and Heritage Stage, jazz photography, Jazz Tent, Jim Brock Photography, Jim James, Jimmy Vaughn, John Hammond, Kirk Joseph, Kristin Diable, Lauryn Hill, Little Freddie King, Lost Bayou Ramblers, Mardi Gras Indian, Matt Garrison, Michael McDonald, Midnite Disturbers, Monk Boudreaux, My Morning Jacket, Nathaneil Rateliff, Neil Young, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Nicholas Payton, Nightsweats, Paul Simon, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Promise of the Real, Radiators, Raw Oyster Cult, Revivalists, Rhiannon Giddens, roots music, Shannon Powell, Sharon Jones, Skerik, Snarky Puppy, Sonor, Soul Rebels, sousaphone, Steely Dan, Stratocaster, Subdudes, Tab Benoit, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Terence Blanchard, trombone, Voice of the Wetlands All-Stars, Walter Trout, Warren Haynes, WWOZ Jazz Tent, ZZ Top

Reflections and Musings of a Jazz Fest Photographer – 2016 Edition

  Yeah, it’s been a year of musical losses. But, Prince, the day before Jazz Fest 47 got underway? WTF? From the glyph etched in the blue above the Fair Grounds the first weekend, to the Treme second line the Monday following, to My Morning Jacket’s howling “Purple Rain” finish second Friday, Jazz Fest did its part, as it always does. “I am because he was”, Janelle Monae confessed to the Congo Square stage crowd. And whether Prince or Bowie or Toussaint or B.B. or Merle, and on and on, Fest is where the music is honored and celebrated like no other gathering on the planet, even when heaven and earth throw everything at you. And this was a Fest like no other, where Stevie Wonder’s only Fair Grounds performance was an acapella Purple Rain through a bullhorn in a deluge, and where it was impossible to tell the booming thunder above, from Neil Young and POR below. The music stuck like the deep muck of the infield and never let go. And whether on stage, dancing with a stranger, singing along, holding back tears, sharing a bite, sleeping it off, that’s just a Jazz Fest fact. This photographer took […]

KAABOO, Del Mar

September 17-20, 2015 With summer and festival season coming to a close, in steps KAABOO, a 3-day inaugural event held a sea breeze away from the Pacific at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. The brain child of Denver based Bryan Gordon and a huge supporting cast, the fest offered a broad spectrum musical experience mixed with comedy, artists of many media and a late night party with an emphasis on the creature comforts for the masses that many festivals lack (real toilets for all!), and top flight culinary options in one of the best craft beer counties in the U.S. The challenge for any first timer with big ambitions is to establish not just an identity, but to create a distinctive experience that separates itself from the pack of an ever more crowded festival field. It is not enough to draw a weekend’s worth of headliners to a town near you with an eye chart worthy promo poster in tow. There is a lot on the line for KAABOO. Until now, there has not been a Southern California event with the musical diversity to befit the region that isn’t branded Coachella, and there has been a vacuum in San Diego since […]

Wheels of Soul Tour – Tedeschi Trucks Band, Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings and Doyle Bramhall II, Greek Theatre, Los Angeles

June 10, 2015 The musical marriage of Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks spawned a heckuva family. The band sports a 3 piece horn section that drapes Tedeschi’s voice and excellent blues stringing, and provides many a jumping off point for Trucks’ fiery bottleneck excursions. Casual fans may not know that long before their union, Susan Tedeschi had established herself as an exceptional blues player and vocalist in her own right, while widening the road for the likes of Samatha Fish, Beth Hart, Carolyn Wonderland, Ana Popovic and many others. Tedeschi’s voice draws easy comparisons to Bonnie Raitt, but she gets to grittier places with the force to match. Trucks’ years with the Allmans, leading his own band and supporting others (the 2006 Derek & the Dominoes rich Clapton tour, was particularly memorable) all led to here. He almost seems hotwired to another plane and the fierce intensity of his playing belies the meditative expression that accompanies most of his solos. The only flash Trucks bares is in the soul tearing notes he pulls from his SG. Some years back, I heard Trucks interviewed at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, when asked about his no pick/full fingered technique, his […]

Galactic with Kung Fu, El Rey Theatre

March 5, 2015 Yes, it’s that time of year again. Jazz Fest is a month or so away, Opening Day even closer, and Galactic lit up the El Rey Theatre on their regular March swing through the Southland. Flashing 20 years of musical intuition and their unique brand of NOLA funk, the set featured several guest vocalists, most prominently, the very talented Erica Falls (Galactic + Falls covering “Rock Steady” = meant for each other), as well as Jurassic 5er, Chali2na and, Nicki Crawford. As if the place couldn’t get any more jacked up, The Revivalists’ David Shaw (whose band was sharing the bill with uber-jamsters Umphrey’s McGee the following night) joined late in the set for Hey Na Na. Stanton Moore is the man, and his hard hitting brushes during a solo had to school every drummer in the house. Kung Fu proved to be an excellent foil, with the Connecticut based quintet delivering their own tightly wound new funk propelled by Robert Somerville’s tenor and Tim Palmieri on guitar.                               

Way Over Yonder Festival, Santa Monica Pier

September 26-27, 2014 Day one of Newport Folk Festival’s little sister, Way Over Yonder, at the Santa Monica Pier had familiar headliners, solo strummers and new discoveries, true to the Newport spirit. The perfect weather, great beer and ocean setting didn’t hurt. Lucinda Williams delivered a career crossing set to tee up crowd faves, Local Natives. Drums/guitar duo Little Hurricane lived up to its name, Moses Sumney claimed his buzz. The Far West got all honkytonk-abilly, Joe Fletcher spun road weary tales. Bootstraps and straight outta Indy Houndmouth were both personal and energetic, and the Wild Reeds played well with the carousel crowd. This sophomore effort was off to a good start.                         Day 2 was a keeper. The music was as sparkling as the weather. Missed The Barr Brothers, but heard great things. The Main Stage was strong from start to finish, but the stunner for me was The Lone Bellow. Soulful, punchy, grounded with stories to tell and the tunes to match, only to be followed by Jamestown Revival who didn’t miss a beat and kept the energy and emotion high. Joe Pug at the Carousel Stage […]