Monk. photo by W. Eugene Smith

Jazz and Photography are inseparable for me. Jazz music has influenced my own artistic style for longer than I have consciously realized. Black & White photographs and Jazz were made for each other. Smokey, sultry, grainy images. If I close my eyes and imagine being in the darkroom, I will hear the barely audible sounds of Coltrane or Miles playing on the radio in the background. Temple University's WRTI hosted by Bob Perkins... "BP with The GM"... Bob Perkins with the Good Music. Goes back so many years it becomes part of my soul. I've been thinking about this quite a bit lately.Last month I saw Gil Scott-Heron perform at B B King's Blues club. Thirty years after seeing him perform for the first time in North Philly back in the late 70's. His music and lyrics have inspired me immensely all those years, and I have embraced them again as fully relevant to these hard times. Pieces of a Man. We Almost Lost Detroit. Winter in America. etc. etc.

Gil Scott-Heron. by C. H. Paquette (2009)

Two highly recommended items for Jazz and Photography/Film lovers...

The Jazz Loft Project

Thelonious Monk & Band. by W. Eugene Smith

In the late '50s and early '60s, photographer W. Eugene Smith made approximately 4,000 hours of reel-to-reel tape recordings, and took nearly 40,000 photos, in his lower Manhattan loft apartment. His was a building where the era's top jazz musicians stopped by for jam sessions at all hours of the night. In a series of four reports on NPR's Weekend Edition, culled from a 10-part series on WNYC, Sara Fishko explores the stories of The Jazz Loft. This is an incredible look into not only the world of the highpoint of the New York Jazz scene, but the fascinating voyeurism and obsessive nature of W. Eugene Smith.

The Jazz Baroness

Nica & Monk. unknown photographer

She was a beautiful British-born heiress from a powerful Jewish dynasty. He was a quirky African-American musical genius who helped pioneer the jazz revolution known as bebop. They met in Paris in the 1950s and were inseparable for the next 28 years, as she became a loyal friend and fiercely protective patron of some of the era's greatest musicians. THE JAZZ BARONESS chronicles this unlikely, controversial relationship. This very interesting documentary has been showing on HBO in recent weeks.The film weaves together archival footage and interviews with family members, friends, jazz historians and luminaries, among them Sonny Rollins, Quincy Jones, Thelonious Monk, Jr., Roy Haynes, Curtis Fuller, The Duchess of Devonshire and Clint Eastwood. THE JAZZ BARONESS also features footage of the groundbreaking Thelonious Monk Quartet playing such classics as "Straight, No Chaser," "The Bolivar Blues" and "Nutty," including a 1965 BBC appearance, when Monk finally began to get the recognition, if not the financial rewards, he had worked for. Historical documentary about a unique love story.

Jazz Baroness Website
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