NEWPORT FOLK FESTIVAL 2019, FORT ADAMS, RHODE ISLAND

July 26-28, 2019 As the sun dipped to meet Naragansett Bay a few Sundays back, the 60 years since the first Newport Folk Festival seemingly came full circle. The Fort Stage crowd serenading Rambling Jack Elliott, and the dozens of singers and musicians paying tribute to the spirit and songs of Pete Seeger (who appeared at the first Newport in 1959) with one last chorus of “Goodnight, Irene”. On what would have been the troubadour’s 100th birthday, it was producer Jay Sweet who encouraged the audience to have the last word and shower the stage with the love shared by all who performed and attended over the course of the three days. That the Lead Belly lyrics so simply convey love lost and always eternal, was a fitting coda to a closing set that left me more than a little teary. In a good way. Let’s just say that there are moments as a photographer when you have to put the camera down, and take it all in, and this was one of them. Welcome to Newport Folk. Newport 2019 was true to form. Full of collaboration, a few surprises and plenty of discoveries. But what was most different about […]

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 […]
Jun 08
by Jim Brock in Reviews 1 comments tags: 610 Stompers, Aaron Wilkinson, accordion, Acura Stage, Aerosmith, Amanda Shaw, Americana, Anders Osborne, Anita Baker, Archie Shepp, Astral Project, Beck, Ben Ellmen, Big Chief Red, bluegrass, blues photography, Blues Tent, Bo Dollis, Bonerama, Brandon Lewis, Buddy Guy, Butler Bernstein, Cage the Elephant, cajun music, Carolyn Wonderland, Charles Lloyd, Charlie Gabriel, Chris Mule, Christian Scott, classic rock, Clint Maedgen, Commodores, concert photography, Congo Square Stage, Corey Henry, Darcy Malone, Dave Malone, David Byrne, David Shaw, Debbie Davis, Delbert McClinton, Dianne reeves, Dirty Notes, Doug Kershaw, Dumpstaphunk, Ellis Marsalis, Epiphone guitar, Erica Falls, Eye on the Music, Fais Do-Do Stage, Fats Domino, Galactic, Gentilly Stage, George Benson, George Wein, Gibson SG, Givers, Glen David Andrews, Gospel Tent, Henry Butler, Hiss Golden Messenger, Honey Island Swamp Band, Hot 8 Brass Band, Hot 9, Hot Rize, Instruments a'Comin', Irma Thomas, Ivan Neville, Jack Johnson, Jack White, Jake Shimabukuro, Jason Isbell, Jazz & Heritage Stage, jazz photography, Jeff Raines, Jesse McBride, Jim Brock Photography, Jimmy Buffett, John Boutte, John Mahoney Big Band, John Mayall, Johnny Sketch, Johnny Vidacovich, Jon Batiste, Kermit Ruffins, Kidd Jordan, Lagniappe Stage, Leah Chase, Les Paul, Leyla McCalla, Lionel Richie, LMB, Lucinda Williams, Lyle Lovett, Mardi Gras indians, Mark Mullins, MC Taylor, Mike Dillon, Mr Sipp, music photography, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Nicholas Payton, Old Crow Medicine Show, Paul Sanchez, Police, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Quint Davis, Radiators, reggae, Rich Vogel, Robert Mercurio, Rolling Road Show, Ron Carter, Ronell Johnson, roots music, Ruthie Foster, Samantha Fish, Shamarr Allen, Shannon Powell, Sheryl Crow, Sonny Landreth, Stanton Moore, Stephen Bernstein, Steve Miller, Steve Riley, Steve Tyler, Sting, Stratocaster, Sturgill Simpson, Talking Heads, Tank & the Bangas, Telecaster, Terence Blanchard, The Revivalists, Thinline, Threadheads, Tipitina's, Tipitina's Foundation, Toots & the Maytals, trombone, Trumpet Mafia, ukelele, Walter Trout, website, Wild Magnolias, WWOZ Jazz Tent

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, […]

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 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 […]

Newport Folk Festival 2015, Day 3

July 26, 2015 Proudly sitting on a half century plus of tradition, the Newport Folk Fest feels more like a mellow picnic with your pals and belies its legacy as one of the most important music events of past and present. With attendance capped at 10,000 and the historic Ft. Adams setting on Naragansett Bay, it is a personal, friendly experience. One where the event co-founder, 89-year old George Wein, is still scooting around the Fort shaking hands, talking to people and taking it all in. A gathering built of sturdy roots and tradition, one that honors the music first, and where most favor their ears, (and the space between them), over their smartphones. I recently came across a HuffPo piece on whether music festivals have lost their mojo and devolved into customized super concerts for Generation Distracted. It’s a fair, but debatable point. And one that warrants further appreciation that Newport Folk exists at all. It’s hard to grasp now that just the mere act of plugging in by a young Bob Dylan in 1965 was taken as both rebellion and betrayal (still debated today). The stakes were that high (Elijah Wald’s excellent “Dylan Goes Electric! Newport, Seeger, Dylan, […]
May 27
by Jim Brock in Reviews 1 comments tags: A Tribe Called Red, Acura Stage, Alex McMurray, Allen Toussaint, Anders Osborne, Andrew Bird, Astral Project, AXS TV, B.B. King, Band of Horses, banjo, baritone sax, Beausoleil, Ben Harper, Ben Jaffe, Big Sam Williams, Bill Summers, Billy Hart, Billy Joel, Black Crowes, Black Keys, Blues Tent, Bonerama, Brian Blade, C.J. Chenier, Calexico, Campbell Brothers, Carl Dufrene, Carlo Nuccio, Carousel bar, Cecil McBee, Cesar Rosas, Charlie Musselwhite, concert photography, Congo Square Stage, Corey Glover, Corey Henry, Craig Handy, Dan Auerbach, Danilo Perez, Dark Matter, Dave Malone, Dave Matthews, David Shaw, David Torkanowksy, David Weiss, Debbie Davis, Del McCoury, Dianne reeves, DMB, Dr. John, Dumpstaphunk, Economy Hall Tent, Eddie Henderson, Eddie Palmieri, Edward "Kidd" Jordan, Electric dobro, Epiphone, Eric Bolivar, Eye on the Music, Fais Do-Do Stage, Fi-Yi-Yi, Fleetwood Mac, Fleur Debris, Flow Tribe, Frank Bua, Frank Ocean, Funktet, Galactic, Gary Glark, Gentilly Stage, George Benson, George Cables, George Duke, George Porter Jr., Gibson ES-335, Gipsy Kings, Glen David Andrews, Henry Butler, Irvin Mayfield, Ivan Neville, jam bands, Jamaal Batiste, Jason Marsalis, Jazz & Heritage Stage, Jazz Fest, jazz photography, Jazz Tent, Jazzfest, Jazzfest Foundation Archive, Jerry Douglas, Jill Scott, Jim Brock Photography, Jimmy Herring, Joe Ashlar, Joey Peebles, John Boutte, John Gros, John Mayer, John Pattitucci, Johnathon Boogie Long, Johnny Sansone, Johnny Vidacovich, Jon Cleary, Joshua redman, Kendrick Scott, Kevin O'Day, Khris Royal, Kristin Diable, Lagniappe Stage, Lakland bass, Lenny White, Leo Nocentelli, Little Willies, live music, Los Bayou Ramblers, Los Hombres Calientes, Los Lobos, Los Po-Boy Citos, Lucille, Ludwig drums, Luther Dickinson, Luther Kent, Marcia Ball, Mardi Gras indians, Mark Mullins, Matt Perrine, Michael Doucet, Midnite Disturbers, Mike Ballard, Modeliste, New Orleans jazz, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival Foundation, New Orleans music, Nicholas Payton, Nite Tripper, NOLA.com, Norah Jones, North Mississippi Allstars, Offbeat, Page McConnell, Papa Grows Funk, Patrick Carney, Patti Smith, Paul Sanchez, Pete Murano, Phish, Phoenix, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Quint Davis, Radiators, Raul Malo, Raw Oyster Cult, rock photography, Roger Lewis, Rolling Road Show, Rolling Stone, Ronnie McCoury, Rosie Ledet, Roy Ayers, Runnin' Pardners, Sasha Masakowski, Shannon Powell, Sidney Bechet, Skerik, Sonny Landreth, soprano sax, Soul Rebels Brass Band, Stanley Clarke, Stanton Moore, Steve Masakowski, Stratocaster, Tab Benoit, Taj Mahal, Telecaster, Terence Blanchard, Terrance Simien, The Cookers, The Mavericks, The Meter Men, The Meters, The Revivalists, Thomas Hedlund, Thomas Mars, Tony Dagradi, Treme, Trickbag, trombone, Trombone Shorty, tuba, Twangorama, Vasti Jackson, Voice of the Wetlands, Wayne Shorter, Widespread Panic, Wille Nelson, Woodenhead, Zack Smith, Zigaboo, zydeco, Zydeco Playboys

Reflections and Musings of a Jazz Fest Photographer

The 44th annual New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival is a few weeks past and my rear view reflections only seem to sweeten the experience. This Jazz Fest, my 10th overall, is best summarized by an exchange between two Festers NOLA bound from NYC by train, one a dear friend, composer and 3-timer, the other a vet from a krewe known for their affection for Fezs (yeah, you heard that right). “Hope to see you next year”…. “You will, and every year after that until I die.” What Rolling Stone calls the “greatest music event on the planet” inspires such pure devotion. 60+ acts a day, 12 stages and tents, 7 days (no repeats, Coachella, you listening ACL?). Most of my time these days is in the pit or hustling from one stage to the next, trying to burn more calories than I eat while keeping up with artists and bands older and younger than I am (not in my 40s anymore). Fest photographers do not get to enjoy whole sets. Far from it. With 3 and outs for most big names, as well as other random acts, and much ground to cover, the feast becomes a mountain of nibbles […]

Voodoo Experience 2012

October 26-28, 2012 As an unabashed Jazzfest vet, I approached my first Voodoo with excitement and a hint of fear. The mix of rap, EDM, and the often indefinable, sprinkled with the best of New Orleans contemporary and traditional, on a bed of arena headliners, eclectic rockers, funk and blues artists, is uniquely Voodoo.  Look, I’m an old school guy who knows enough to be dangerous to himself. Not a banger, a mosher or a surfer. I know Skrillex drops bombs that turn your bones to jelly and have never been to a Metallica show in my life, but I approached Voodoo with anticipation and an open mind. After all, there was Mr. Neil Young touring with Crazy Horse for the first time in eight years. Gary Clark, Jr.’s, blues without boundaries and the omni-bluesusical Jack White closing it out. OK, so much for the obvious. How far would I go to connect with my inner Voodoo? Would I make it to Borgore (an Israeli DJ formerly of a death metal band), the total bizzaro of South African rappers Die Antwoord or Electric Daisy Carnival main stager Nervo (all three made “Rolling Stone’s 10 Must See Acts at Voodoo Fest”)? […]
Jun 06
by Jim Brock in Reviews 1 comments tags: Acura Stage, Al Green, Allen Toussaint, Anders Osborne, Beach Boys, Ben Jaffe, blues guitar, Blues Tent, Bonnie Raitt, bottleneck slide, Bruce Hornsby, cajun music, Charles Neville, classic rock, concert photography, Congo Square Stage, Corey Henry, Dap Kings, Derrick Shezbie, Esperanza Spalding, Eye on the Music, Florence + the Machine, Florence Welch, Gabriela Quintero, Galactic, Gary Clark, Generations Hall, Gentilly Stage, George Porter, Gibson ES-335, Glen David Andrews, Glen Hansaard, Gospel Tent, Grace Potter, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Herbie Hancock, Intsruments A Comin', Irma Thomas, James Cotton, jazz, jazz photography, Jazz Tent, Jim Brock Photography, John Boutte, Johnny Vidacovich, Joseph Lastie, Lakland bass, Leo Nocentelli, live music, Mike Love, music photography, My Morning Jacket, New Orleans jazz, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, New Orleans music, New Orleans Musicians for Obama, Noisemakers, Patrick Hallahan, Paul Sanchez, pedal steel, piano, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Radio Music Society, rebirth Brass Band, Rodrigo Sanchez, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Savoy Music Center, Sharon Jones, Soul Rebels Brass Band, soul singers, sousaphone, Stanton Moore, Stratocaster, surf music, Swell Season, Takamine, Terence Higgins, The Meters, The Revivialists, Threadhead Records, Tipitina's, Tipitina's Foundation, Treme, trombone, Trombone Shorty, trumpet, tuba, Voice of the Wetlands, Warren Haynes, Warren Haynes Band, zydeco music

Jazzfest 2012 Reflections

From the Revivalists passionate opening Gentilly set to the final moments of Springsteen’s plaintive reading of Saints, the first weekend of Jazzfest 2012 was an abundance of special moments.  Yes, the draws were the Acura headliners. Petty and Bruce delivered deep satisfying sets (from what I was able to catch), and Springsteen’s presence was a rallying cry of celebration and reflection. A reminder of how New Orleans has healed since his epic 2006 post-Katrina Seeger Sessions appearance, and how far there is still to go. Even the Beach Boys brought their game, judging by the smiles and sing alongs from a nice size Acura crowd. But, hey, did you check out Seun Kuti and Egypt 80 at Congo Square?  The four generations of players from 9 to 90+ that filled the Fais Do Do on Saturday for the Savoy Music Center Cajun Jam? How about Bon Iver’s stirring (and unexpected) connection with the Jazzfest crowd? Gary Clark, Jr. absolutely tearing down the Blues Tent opposite the Boss with Texas blues that left teeth marks? Not to mention the Voice of the Wetlands All-Stars and Jon Cleary & the Absolute Monster Gentlemen showing Tom Petty how it’s done in New Orleans. […]