Thanks to my friend rapper/actor/filmmaker Taiyo “HYST” YamanouchiI had the chance to participate in a singer’s image change.
For his new album campaign, IndieJesto, Jesto, Hyst’s brother, not only chose to reappear on social networks with a completely different look, but he even changed musical genre shifting from rap to pop rock.
On a rainy November evening, I joined the crew led by HYST for the filming of a videoclip.
A quick briefing: they needed backstage shots in black and white and some “street” portraits, again in a high-contrast black and white; in short, they looked at creating a typical vintage atmosphere from other times.
The sets: a second-hand clothing store; a record store; the Navigli canal-sides; and a pub.
The characters: Jesto & friends, an acoustic guitar and pints of beers.
The film and photo crew: Me & HYST
Jesto’s natural attitude in his new skin made my work absolutely easy: I photographed the skin-changing live with my old FujiFilm X30 and I did it before the fans could realize what it would soon be.
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.
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!
As a Jazz Ascona Festival press officer, I had the opportunity to meet many artists and chat with them. One evening while writing a press release, I was distracted by a spicy fragrance. While still trying to figure out where the good and intense fragrance came from, I heard the sound of a trumpet. It was a clear sound full of heart. The melody accompanied the growing perfume to perfection.
I stopped writing and I followed the fragrance & sound down to the basement. The darkness was lit by a light. The kitchen door was open. Pamela Pierre Brown, the Gourmet Sacred Soul Kitchen chef, was committed to the stove; a little further, her husband Leon “Kid Chocolate” Brown saturated the scented gumbo air with the notes of his trumpet. That was my unrepeatable chance to capture the quintessence of jazz: a greeting and an unobtrusive gesture to indicate the digital camera I had with me. The session started. The whole kitchen was pervaded with Souls: Pamela’ s Soul; Kid Chocolate’s Soul; my colleague Simona’s Soul; and my Soul. The feeling was to be living a real jazz moment that we wouldn’t be able to find another time. No book could ever describe the scene in a realistic way. I hope my photo shooting maintained that soulful fragrance and reflected for the observer the melodies of New Orleans jazz. After all, even photography is a question of soul… Let’s jazz, let’s groove, let’s swing!
P.S. The day after musicians and Jazz Ascona staff sat in the kitchen and tasted Miss Pamela’s gumbo (and fried fish).