My questions and my frames (taken during JazzAscona 2019) for the interview with great Jamaican-American jazz pianist Monty Alexander in Plug n’ play Swiss music culture magazine. ENJOY! (Cover photo-retouch: Federica Beffumo)
Jorge Agustín Nicolás Ruiz de Santayana y Borrás wrote: <A man’s feet must be planted in his country, but his eyes should survey the world.> This quote came to my mind as soon as I met Vancouverite songwriter Bocephus King at Ponkj bar in Milan.
That’s the reason I decided to take a bunch of shots before the live show began: I was curious to see what his eyes could tell me and how they kept surveying the world.
A few shots were enough to obtain amazing postcards from Bocephus King’s world.
Then there was a friendly chat – I’m a Vancouver lover.
The concert has begun and Bocephus King’s eyes have continuously surveyed and narrated the world. His feet were at the same time in Canada and in Milan when he started to sing Bonnie Dobson’s Morning Dew…
By its own nature jazz music is traditional/ist but jazz also knows how to find new directions for the future. During Ben Williams & Sound Effect’s recent show at Jazz Cat Club Ascona, jazz music has brilliantly proved it is capable to possess a vision that goes beyond the teachings of the past. In Ascona, composer, singer and bass player Williams presented his own idea of jazz. He enchanted the audience with a sonic melting pot: neo-soul, sampling, but also Beatles, Radiohead and Bob Dylan covers turned on the show. At the end of the performance, an emotional “The Death of Emmet Till” rendition showed how much the past is necessary to move in the present and imagine a cultural and social future. (All frames taken with Olympus OM-D E-M5 + Zuiko 75mm f1.8)
Surviving time is not an easy task. Tom Barman – a voice somewhere between Bob Dylan and Eddie Vedder – succeeded with the dEUS and then with TaxiWars. During their latest show in Milan, Mr. Barman and TaxiWars pushed post-rock into the arms of free jazz, bewitching the audience. On stage, the songs from the new album, Artificial Horizon, opened the window and cleared the air of rock music. The band did not give up to a desire to feed their fans; TaxiWars played loud to convince those who still weren’t convinced of their music. In a rainy Milanese night the magic came true. Everybody survived the Nineties.
What happens when Buddy Guy meets the Grateful Dead? The question may need to be corrected. Need to ask when does Buddy Guy’s blues meet the Grateful Dead’s psychedelic jam? The magic happened in Milan during the North Mississippi Allstars concert at Spazio Teatro 89. The band led by the Dickinson brothers – in the power trio version – performed a 2 hours and 15 minutes live show rejecting any “music label.” North Mississippi Allstars’ philosophy? Jamming, jamming and jamming. Following the mood of the evening, I started a photographic session interrupting myself often, to try to get even more in tune with the band’s vibes. Shot by shot I explored with my FujiFilm X30 the visual nuances of blues and rock. There is nothing better than frames supported by music, you know! Jamming, jamming and (photo) jamming!
Storage could kill a frame. The mind of a photographer is always focused on shots to come. The shots then flee from memory until someone retrieves them. When Afterhours’ celebrative box set (book + 4 CDs) was released in 2017 I was deep in my photo projects so I hadn’t paid much attention to that record release dedicated to the band I had loved so much in the early 2000s. Two years later I bought the box set at a cheap price and I discovered that one of my shots had been included in the book.
The frame in question, taken in Milan, mid February 2003, portrayed the band in action at the Triennale Museum in Milan: it was a special live performance (2 sets) in the middle of an art installation inspired by Italian writer Italo Calvino’s book Città Invisibili. During the photo session (with a Pentax Espio) I took care to portray the scene comprehensively, showing the band really immersed in the art installation and in touch with the audience. Manuel Agnelli, the Afterhours frontman, appreciated my point of view and asked for prints for his personal archive. At the time I had some meetings and lunches with him because I was in contact with the indie label Afterhours signed with. That shot of the Afterhours’ Triennale performance is a lucky frame: it risked ending up lost in my photo archives but it was saved by a publishing project.
Below more pics from the Afterhours’ Triennale shows.
In FUJI X PASSION August 2019 issue you can find my b&w night reportage from JAZZASCONA 2019. If you love jazz music run to see my frames of Leroy Jones, Ashlin Parker, Ellen Birath, Nayo Jones, Othella Dallas, Michael Watson, Uli Wunner, Sax Gordon, Nico Duportal, etc. ENJOY!
For more pics see Le notti di Ascona in Jazz Ascona Flickr albums!!!
June 28, 2019, a full page with a selection of my b&w frames dedicated to the Jazz Ascona Festival 2019 in Tessiner Zeitung newspaper. Some great musicians (friend New Orleans trumpeter Leroy Jones; Jazz poetess Othella Dallas; New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, etc.) portrayed in action. ENJOY!
<… ein paar Schnapppschüsse des offiziellen Festivalfotografen Matteo Ceschi, die mehr von der Magie eines einmaligen Festivals erzählen als tausend Worte.>
FOR MORE PICTURES SEE Le notti di Ascona flickr JAZZ ASCONA 2019 album
I’m very proud to see the interview with CARSON McHONE (and the shots I took with my FujiFilm X30) published in the Plug n’ play June 2019 issue. I’m equally proud to present on my blog the full series of b&w shots (and just one color frame) I took of Carson at Rough Trade East, London, during the Texan singer and guitarist’s showcase in early February 2019.
To enrich this post let me add Carson’s opinion on the role of photography in her career. As Carson told me: <If there’s this constant need for content then it’s important to think ahead, especially if you want some sort of coherent theme to your imagery. I am definitely not anywhere near where I’d like to be with this but recently I’ve started to really think about any photos I take or any photo shoots I do, to have some sort of unifying aesthetic or intent, so that when I do post these images to the rest of the world I can feel like it’s a representation of the art and not just cheap engagement.>
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