Posts Tagged ‘France

09
Jul
12

Miles Davis: Magic Celebration At The Hollywood Bowl

For some time I’ve been aware that the US Postal service was breaking new ground by issuing a new generation of Forever Stamps which would feature Superstar Jazz trumpeter Miles Davis and French Pop singer Edith Piaf. Karen has been keeping me abreast of the ramping up of this historic event from early on. It’s historic as well because this is one of only a few times France has simultaneously released similar stamps through La Poste. Both artists visages have been immortalized in this co-release. I received my invite to the event at the Hollywood Bowl Museum dedication with a little more than a weeks notice. I had seen the press on the New Your dedication and I was impressed!

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The day arrived and I made a trek I often avoid because of traffic and crowds. Not that I don’t like the Hollywood Bowl, because I do. It’s simply the mechanics of getting there that brings on immense misery. But the pleasure I was to experience overrode my overall consternation. Parking was a bear but I made it and I totally scored! I thought I was there for the dedication only, but there was to be more to this night than I would’ve anticipated. I was able to arrange a parking space where I could leave at anytime. I found the Hollywood Bowl Museum where I successfully discovered the terrace of the museum via the elevator. Upon arriving Joshua Ledet was laying out a soulful version of the National Anthem. While I was up front photographing Ledet, then followed by Bubba Jackson, Erin Davis, was nice enough to call to me quietly to say hi. It was good seeing him. I was excited for Erin, Vince and Cheryl. This is a tremendous honor and such a wonderful situation to celebrate Miles’ artistry amongst celebrities, friends and family. New York’s dedication had such notables as Cicely Tyson and Don Was (Was Not Was and President of Blue Note Records), while the group gathered for this event included Henry Rollins, Robert Trujillo, Herbie Hancock and Marcus Miller. Bubba laid out a nice tribute, Henry drove it home with his personal anecdotal story of his Mother’s love of Miles’ Kind Of Blue, although Miles’ left Henry’s Mother behind or so she felt. Henry joyfully picked Miles right back up. Henry’s introduction to Miles’ art for us this night was filled jabs of passion, insight and praise for Miles’ performances and commitment to the music. This was followed by Marcus Miller’s account of being in Miles’ band. Marcus shared his admiration and influence from his mentor, who both, challenged him and inspired him. In all their accounts you could sence and feel Miles presence: his effect on them, it is a living thing, that was moving and palpable. I could feel the man Miles must have been while hearing these stories and much deserved accolades. I’ve always felt Miles Davis was the real deal, not one to put up with fakes and frauds. Who’s ultimate and singular goal and passion was for the music. So for me to be here and to have it fleshed out right before my own eyes was truly remarkable. I count myself among the very fortunate!

After the proceeding finished I was steadily moving towards the rescue of my car when I ran into Bob Lee of The Los Angeles Beat. Bob was looking for a photographer for the Miles Davis Hollywood Bowl tribute to 3 stellar albums; Kind Of Blue, Bitches Brew and Tutu. I immediately said yes! As the sun was fading I was guided through the VIP area and amongst the other photographers. As I was ushered into the Bowl proper Jimmy Cobb, the last remaining member from Kind Of Blue, was in full tilt and deep into So What. I started snapping away trying to capture the spirit of the event in my photos. I had 15 minutes to shoot from the aisle right behind the last row of boxes. This was a harder shoot than The Wiltern. Yet I manage to get some sparkling moments of the band playing. Waiting for the next performance with Vince Wilburn Jr.’s band playing Bitches Brew I ran into Earl Gibson Jr. He was shooting for Miles Davis’ Estate, grabbing the best moments of the night’s proceedings. We shared a few laughs and it was back to work. Cobb’s band put on an amazing performance of Kind Of Blue when the stage began to move in a circular fashion to my left exposing Vince’s band who lit right into Bitches Brew. From then on till the end of the set I had free reign shooting the band. Vince was brutalizing the skins as this improvisational maelstrom of collaborators who preformed and included: Mino Cinelu, Jackson Blackbyrd McKnight (whom I rode up in the elevator earlier at the museum), Nicholas Payton, Robert Irving III, Badal Royand and DJ Logic. After shooting, shooting and more shooting I took a moment to really take it in. Vince’s band, The Electric Band, brought about a moment of awe in me as each artist soloed. The density of the music and yet the space you could simultaneously hear from the performance was breathtaking. In many ways the band left me with the impression or the sensorial presents you get with a well executed classical performance. The idea I got from my discussions with my friend Kenny Dennis, a consummate Jazz drummer, was that the mid-century goal of Jazz musicians and Jazz music were to go toe to toe with the classical expression. Listening to Bitches Brew I felt that bar had been met in musicality and structure. It was marvelously 3 dimensional as the different instruments pulled you in different directions. I felt as if Miles was still at the helm. Still guiding everyone in that Ne plus ultra of musical experiences. Simply impressive! During all of this I had run into Karen, who was radiant that night, after pulling off a world-class event. I was happy for her and very impressed. She had an extra ticket. Henry’s ticket, I’d find out later. I stood for most of the performance shooting but I really wanted to be immersed in this phenomenal experience. I sot out the box for some rare access. I found myself setting behind Greg Burk, LA Times’s Culture Monster, reviewing the show. We have a mutual friend, Casey Dolan, who wrote for the LA Times and was Entertainment Editor. We chatted about Casey leaving the Times and our mutual interest of writing and music. Karen joined us as Marcus Miller took command of the stage to bring the recording and collaboration with Miles for Tutu to life again.

Once Marcus had finished with the set of Tutu he took a moment to shared his own story with us of his and Miles’ collaboration. How he had left the band to study composing with Miles’ blessing and of his return to create with Miles again on Tutu. It was rather inspirational moment and showed another side of Miles. A look at him we don’t usually get as a mentor and a collaborator that so importantly demonstrated Miles focus on the music honing in on Miles’ desire to remain relevent and involved. Marcus felt it was fitting and in the spirit of Miles’ own sense of creativity to continue that legacy of reinvention and creativity by introducing one of his own compositions, Jekyll And Hyde. Jekyl and Hyde was to carry the nightto it’s finally. It matched the cadence and tone of Tutu and proved to be appropriate closer for such a remarkable night. We were all moved and impressed by the superb musicianship and the remarkable remake of not one but three ground breaking and watershed Jazz albums. May the house of Miles live on forever!


09
Oct
11

Culture Collide Blowing Up the International Indie and Alternative Music Scenes in Silver Lake: Saturday

After making a late night and an early morning of it crunching a blog, sifting through, optimizing photos and making concert video I met up with Sandra at Taix. It was considerate of Sandra to save a place for me at Taix’s bar. We had just missed the Swedish showcase because we were running late. Thus missing the complementary Swedish beers. We caught up on the latest and discussed the upcoming line up for the next 2 days at Cultural Collide . Lanksies had a false start, which we found startling and funny. Then finally The Lanksies jumped in with their French version of Brit Pop: like Bloc Party, Adam Ant, XTC and Blur. It was hella fun! They were clever talented musicians that wrapped everything in a smirk and a wink. It was also very fun to hear the lead singer talk English with a slight French accent with an even heavier Scottish brogue. His pronunciation cause major confusion between Sandra and myself in the midst of our deducing Lanksies’ point of origin, even though they were introduced to be from France.  They gave a lot of bang for the buck. The closing song was a funny ditty called Client Eastwood is Dead. It was a snappy performance that made them memorable.

I headed over to the Methodist Church to catch my ole pal Carina Round who was supported by the amazing keyboardist Zac Rae. I love to hear her sing. She has such a beautiful and powerful voice. Her song writing and her composition are always superb. She was in fine voice this night; although, Zac had a buzz in one of the processors of his keyboard affects that was more distracting to them than the crowd in the church. It was an acoustic set with electric piano. Her fans were entranced and eating up the whole thing. She finished her set with Back Seat. It’s truly one of her most beautiful songs. She asked everyone to sing along. Then everyone joined in. I find that Back Seat is a powerfully sweet and sentimental that I choke up on it every time I sing a long. It was a great closer. I went up and got my free hug and briefly chatted. She had fans a waiting and who am I to stand in their way. Keep you eyes open for the upcoming Puscifer tour of which Carina will be an essential part of Puscifer’s show.

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Then I was off to Descartes a Kant. I had no idea what to expect. Woa, was I in for a surprise! The easiest way to describe them would be to compare them to The Plastics meeting The Tubes. They mix Doo Wop, orchestral mayhem, avant garde performance art and theatrics. I was bamboozle, flummoxed, befuddled by their colorful stage antics. The girls in the band through glitter on the crowd and sprayed eveyone in the audience with sudsy stuff while they pantomimed pouting, rage, surprise, horror, evny, wicked joy and revenge with all the mellow drama that could be mustard by three overly emotive gals. At times it was a drowning oral cacophony assault similar to the Locust with hyper amounts of estrogen poured on it. I found them thrilling, enthralling and hilarious! They had us by the balls and they were squeezing them tighter and smirking! There whole set was like listening to Gang of Four‘s He’s Send In The Army tied to a laugh. They are a must see performance on anybody’s book.

I then hunted up and down Sunset looking for the elusive space called 826LA. I was lucky enough to receive misdirection many times. But then I struck gold finding You Say France and I Whistle from Sweden. They were a mix of Love Is All, Weekend and Everything But The Girl with one exception, the male singer sounded like Robert Smith. So I would imagine when he sang I listening to Love Is All with Robert Smith would joining in for harmony at pivotal points in the sings. Odd,  but not repulsive, just odd. They had 3 singers two keyboards, a bass, a guitar and drums laying some smooth tasty Pop down with a little edge. I enjoyed the set and the crowd kept close and focused in this tight space as the music pumped out. It wasn’t a dramatic end to the evening, as I had hoped for, by finally seeing Isobel Campbell after 3 year of waiting. It was still a fabulously relaxing thing to do at the end of a long day of running around Silver lake.




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