22
May
2012

NEW ORLEANS JAZZ AND HERITAGE FESTIVAL PART TWO!

After the first weekend of Jazz Fest, and the excitement of International Jazz Day, I spent a few days wandering around New Orleans discovering just a few of the things it has to offer:

My favourite experience has to be visiting Preservation Hall…it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time, and I wasn’t disappointed!

Wandering the Merigny by day shows the amazing style of brightly painted houses…

…the French Quarter is fun by day, and it’s where most of the gigs during Jazz Fest happen at night…especially on Frenchmen Street…

…we managed to catch Davell Crawford, ‘The Piano Prince of New Orleans’ at Snug Harbor…amazing talent…keep an eye out for his upcoming album ‘Louisiana – My Gift to You’.

…another night we stumbled into Irvin Mayfield‘s Jazz Playhouse where they played Mingus and the infamous ‘My Bucket’s got a hole in it’ at The Royal Sonesta

…and on the other side of the hotel…check out Desire oyster bar…


…sometimes we had to travel a bit further afield (by streetcar of course!) to check out venues and bands…like Papa Grows Funk at The Maple Leaf and the notorious Jacques-imo’s a few doors down…contrary to the signage, the food and service are both fantastic…

…and The Soul Rebels playing at a very packed out Le Bon Temps Roule was waaay down on Magazine…but soooo worth it…

…on the second Saturday we headed onsite to Jazz Fest to take in a bit more of the atmosphere and to hear the amazing voice of John Boutté…je suis FAN…

….on the last day of our stay in New Orleans we headed out on a swamp tour…

…and in the evening we headed to The Howlin’ Wolf for Zigaboo’s Funk Revue

Many thanks to Christian Bragg from Jazz FM…without whom we would never have found our way around, much less seen half the amazing gigs we did over Jazz Fest!

18
May
2012

New Orleans – International Jazz Day!

It is very strange to wake up at half 5 in the morning to go to a jazz gig, but to do so in New Orleans?!  Yup, it certainly did seem a little bizarre to be walking in the half light up to Congo Square on Monday the 30th of April, but there was no way I was going to miss the launch of the first ever International Jazz Day!

“In November 2011, during the UNESCO General Conference, the international community proclaimed 30 April as “International Jazz Day”. This International Day will bring together communities, schools, artists, historians, academics, and jazz enthusiasts all over the world to celebrate and learn about the art of jazz, its roots, its future and its impact. This important international art form will be celebrated for promoting peace, dialogue among cultures, diversity, and respect for human rights and human dignity, eradicating discrimination, promoting freedom of expression, fostering gender equality, and reinforcing the role of youth for social change.”

What a sunrise concert it turned out to be held in Congo Square, ‘the birthplace of jazz’, and broadcast live around the world, the Congo Square Preservation Society kicked things off…

…having taken on the role of a UNESCO goodwill ambassador, Herbie Hancock performed ‘Watermelon Man’, 50 or so years after he first released it, with 4 students onstage (2 from local New Orleans Centre for Creative Arts) and invited students from all around the world to join him, having provided sheet music and mp3s available for download ahead of time..

…also joining the line-up were Terence Blanchard, Ellis MarsalisKermit Ruffins, Treme Brass Band, Jeff ‘Tain’ Watts, Dr. Michael White, Roland Guerin, Bill Summers and many more…

It really was a great atmosphere…something it felt a privilege to have witnessed at its very beginning, and a lot of fun!

17
May
2012

New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival Part One!

New Orleans for Jazz Fest…where to start?!

Well we began our journey at the Candlelight Lounge in the Treme an hour after our arrival…if you get the chance to see the Treme Brass Band here then do…HERE’s an example of what you can expect!

The day before Jazz Fest officially started we checked out one of the famous above ground cemeteries and tried to get acclimatised to the blazing sun!

There are a few well known names buried here; chess champion Paul Morphy as well as Voodoo practitioner Marie Laveau…visitors in the past have drawn ‘x’s and left gifts in the hopes of having their wishes granted…

We also visited the Voodoo Temple belonging to Priestess Miriam Allen…

…in the afternoon we headed back to the French Quarter and caught the Young Pinstripe Brass Band playing at The Louisiana Music Factory

Jazz Fest is held over two weekends on a designated site like most festivals, but only in the daytime, because there are also hundreds of performances happening in and around New Orleans venues at night with the same and many many more artists…it was hard to keep up!

Here follows the abridged ‘live music photos’ section…

…the first act I stumbled across on site was Goldman Thibodeaux and the Lawtell Playboys who set the mood for the day!

Next up The Dixie Cups played the Acura stage…

Gomez played the Gentilly Stage…

Ivoire Spectacle featuring Seguenon Kone got some amazing rhythms going on the Jazz & Heritage stage……

Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 had everyone dancing by the Congo Square stage…

Bon Iver gave a beautiful sunshine filled performance…

The Beach Boys headlined the Acura stage….

Poncho Sanchez & his Latin Jazz Band..had me Cubano Be Cubano Bopping…

.and I became a massive fan of Buckwheat Zydeco after following my ears to the Blues Tent….

…after getting off to a cracking start on Friday,  there were so many acts I wanted to photograph on Saturday that I got  bit excited and went running around in the blazing heat with my enormous rucksack of kit on my back and promptly gave myself a nice dose of sunstroke…just serious enough to make me have to retire to the medical tent for a bit and recover while missing a lot of amazing acts…that’s not a mistake I’ll be making again in a hurry!  Over the next 2 days I took it easy…walking around the festival site and taking in the atmosphere a bit more…

…it really was extremely hot….most people onsite either had hats or parasols; some made sure they found time to take shelter and rest, and the tents had cold spray pumps in them to keep the audience from overheating…

I did however, manage to get a few performance shots in…first up Cheikh-Lo of Senegal….

…followed by the AMAZING (seriously!) supergroup ‘Voice of The Wetlands All-Stars’ featuring (ready?!) : Tab Benoit, Dr John, Cyril Neville, Anders Osborne, Big Chief Monk BoudreauxJohnny Vidacovich, Johnny Sansone & Waylon Thibodeaux

…On Sunday Big Chief Monk Boudreaux & The Golden Eagles performed on the Jazz & Heritage stage…

…I discovered Sunpie & The Louisiana Sunspots‘ International Accordion Summit …..

…and Al Green closed the festival for the first weekend…

…next blog post…Herbie Hancock and the launch of the first ever International Jazz Day!

11
May
2012

Headshot/portrait session with Sophie!

So my cousin Sophie was up for an experimental shooting session to see if we could capture a slightly more unusual headshot for her acting profile, as she explained she tends to go for slightly more adventurous and improv-based roles.  Anyway, we had fun…a few of the results from our session are below…

09
May
2012

21st Birthday party you say?

Many thanks to Nikki and Joanna for inviting me to their very chic, fun celebration!

09
May
2012

Roberto Fonseca and Ayanna at the Barbican 26/03/12

Roberto Fonseca and Ayanna at the Barbican.

09
May
2012

Live Below The Line

On March 1st I was invited to the Bahá’i Centre by Malaria No More to document an interfaith lunch to raise awareness for their ‘Live Below The Line‘ campaign; a challenge to eat on a budget of just £1 a day for 5 days.

The lunch on this day provided cost just 70p per person and was designed to highlight the fact that nearly one and a half billion people live on this budget every day, not by choice, but out of necessity.

Faith Acts Fellows Charlotte Dando and Usman Nawaz hosted  and prepared the simple lunch of vegetarian couscous, iced buns and tea…

before attendees Sheena Napier, Rosemarie Mallett, Ravjeet Singh, Chazzan Jeremy Burko, Kiran Bali and Annabel Knight arrived…

…the Ritz Hotel had leant a silver cloche for the occasion…