Trombone Shorty’s Voodoo Threauxdown, Greek Theatre, Los Angeles

September 15, 2018 My handy wiktionary tells me “throw down” is “to accomplish or produce something in a grand, respectable, or successful manner; to “represent””. Well, when it comes to the travelling New Orleans road show billed as Trombone Shorty’s Voodoo Threauxdown, to say that the four acts crossing the country this summer just represented, is like saying we live in uneventful times. Uh, yeah, they represented, alright. This had to be one of the best shows of the season.   This threauxdown was as close as Jazz Fest gets on the road. New Breed Brass, Pres Hall, Galactic and Shorty would be a great day on any Fest stage. That they’ve been at mid-size venues from coast-to-coast and back again is like musical room service for those with a taste for New Orleans.   When New Breed kicked off at 7, for a brief (20ish minutes), but very punchy set, the Greek was looking a little sparse. That wouldn’t last long. No breaks for this brass, they had their foot on it for the full 20.           By the time Pres Hall picked it up at 7:30, the sun was down and seats were filling […]

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.

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 […]

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 […]

George Porter, Jr. & Friends, The Mint

October 21, 2016 Any chance to hear Meters bassist George Porter, Jr. in the southland is a treat, and he brought a little Maple Leaf with him for a generous two-setter at The Mint billed as a celebration of Porter, Jr. with special guests. GPJ was flanked by drummer Terrence Houston and Michael Lemmler on keys throughout the night. Tal Wilkenfeld, another absolutely remarkable four-stringer was the first to sit in, and the bass off that ensued was memorable, to say the least. Singer-guitarist Laith Al-Saadhi helped close the first set with a smoking “Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley”. Jane’s Addiction drummer Stephen Perkins joined Houston behind his kit to start the second set and took over for a few tunes digging in with all the physicality of his other band. The set featured a killer “Lovelight” and staples like “I Feel Like Funkin’ it Up”, “Hey Pocky Way”, ”Will it go Round in Circles” and a charging take of “Them Changes”. The show finished at a very Leafy 1:20 AM or so. Porter, Jr. was honored on Saturday with a Lifetime Achievement Award by Bass Player Live! and The Mint gig left no doubt of how deserving the funk […]

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 […]

Newport Jazz Festival 2016

July 29-31, 2016 Newport Jazz. Coltrane’s last performance. History that reaches back to 1954. And, yes, the oldest annual jazz festival in North America is still under the stewardship of founder George Wein for one last year. Newport, along with the Monterey Jazz Festival on the West Coast in September, stands taller than the rest and for good reason. The stunning Ft. Adams setting, the showcase for fresh directions and emerging acts, and the legacy of musical giants past and present all converge for an event that has long been on my jazz bucket list. Having the good fortune to drop in at Newport Folk the past few years, this was my first shot at Newport Jazz, which retains the stage layout from the previous week’s Folk Fest. The smallest tent is barely more than a dozen rows deep, while the largest stage is set against a backdrop of breathtaking bay and bridge views. Both events are incredibly relaxed and attendance is capped at 10K, creating one of the more intimate festival experiences of any year. Sure, the crowd and vibe skew differently between weekends, but damn if jazz isn’t alive and well in the Northeast, and a younger Millenial […]

Mardi Gras Bhangra with Red Baraat and Butler, Bernstein & the Hot 9, Royce Hall

February 9, 2016 Fat Tuesday in Los Angeles is hard to discern from any other day of the year in this sun spoilt metropolis. Once you get past the pre-packaged king cakes in Whole Foods, there are limited options to channel any decent Mardi Gras energy. Fortunately, the Center for the Art of Performance (CAP) at UCLA, who never fail to pull a season together of the worldly and eclectic, really hit on something when renowned New Orleans pianist, Henry Butler (with Butler, Bernstein & the Hot 9) travelled west at the same time Brooklyn dhol’n’brassers Red Baraat kicked off a coast-to-coast tour. This Mardi Gras Bhangra bill was as close to real deal as we’ll get in this town, and a convergence of river deltas like no other. Words tend to fall short when describing Red Baraat. This speaks less about my limited vocabulary and more about music that bends and infuses the seemingly disparate global elements of wedding music from Northern India (“baraat” is Hindi for a groom’s wedding procession) and the fat horns and funk of New Orleans, and then makes such utterly perfect sense when you experience it. Suffice to say it is a mashup of […]

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 […]