End of the Night
Canon EOS7D, 80mm, f/2.8, 1/160s, ISO 1600
Monophonics is a spectacular band to see live. Singer / keyboard player Kelly Finnigan has the kind of stage presence and energy that you don’t expect to see live these days anymore. Saying he ends each gig drenched in sweat would be a lie: he is drenched from the beginning of the third song. For this particular gig I was standing a meter away from the band and eye level with them which gave me some cool opportunities for photos I don’t normally get to do but also proved super challenging. This one of the winning shots from that gig.
Fuji X-Pro2, 85mm, f/2, 1/200s, ISO 6400
I’ve said it in the past: in my now sizable experience shooting jazz concerts, framing pianists is the hardest job. Getting meaningful shots from the front is virtually impossible, and getting a facial expression and at least part of the instrument from the back is no trivial affair. I think I tick most of the boxes here with David Torkanowski although to be fair it’s far from my best concert shot.
Canon EOS 7D, 80mm, f/2, 1/100s, ISO 800
The fabulous French big band Bigre! has a song on their repertoire called Be Good Bluesy Johnny which is at heart an interplay between barytone sax and blues guitar. There’s a break in the middle of the song when the band suddenly goes 12-bars-ish and the guitar starts wailing. It’s orgasmic. The first time I heard this time was when I went to see Bigre! live for their latest album release party. This is the precise moment when Nicolas Mondon launched into his solo.
Fuji X-Pro2, 85mm, f/1.6, 1/80s, ISO 1250
Shooting bassist James Singleton on that Stanton Moore Trio gig was quite tricky: he had a music stand just in front of the bass. Thankfully after a while I managed to move a bit and the 24MP capability of the X-Pro2 allowed me to do severe cropping. The hair and the hand make the photo, I think (I hope ?)
Fuji X-Pro2, 85mm, f/1.4, 1/100s, ISO 2000
Last summer I had the incredible luck of arriving in Paris just the day that the Stanton Moore Trio had been playing the Duc des Lombards. I was there, first row, with Stanton not 3 meters away from me. It wasn’t an easy set-up for photos, but the music was fantastic, and I did get a few interesting shots anyway.
Fuji XPRO2, 50mm, f/4, 1/100s, ISO 1600
Because the Ceux Qui Marchent Debout gig in April was a record release party there were many guests on stage. One of these was a trumpet player with a really beat up trumpet (you can’t see it here because of the plunger) but boy did he have a clear and powerful sound (not that Bruno, the official CQMD trumpet player doesn’t!) I’m assuming he was an old band member, but I couldn’t catch his name. So he’s the mystery horn.
Fuji XPRO2, 85mm, f/2.8, 1/80s, ISO 1600
I have a particular photographic fondness for sousaphone players. The bizarre shape and sheer size of their instruments makes for very graphic photos if you can catch their face in the middle of the twisted brass. This is Roufi of the fantastic funk band Ceux Qui Marchent Debout.
Ounsa’s Golden Voice
Fuji xpro2, 85mm, f/2.8, ISO 1600
The launch party for Ceux Qui Marchent Debout‘s new CD Don’t Be Shy was a blast musically. Photographically speaking it was a double challenge: it was the first gig I shot with my new Fuji xpro2, and the New Morning in Paris is not the best scene for photos. It took me a while to get my settings right and get a feel for the camera in low-light. The Fujinon 56mm f/1.2 is a stunning lens in general but its AF is slow, especially in low light (whereas the Fujinon 35mm f/2 performed flawlessly). Anyway, all this to say that I really started getting good shots once the guests showed up on stage. This is the fantastic singer Ounsa Mébarkia, and probably my favorite shot of the evening, even though it doesn’t feature any of the members of the band I was there to listen to.
Canon 7D, 185mm, f/3.2, 1/500s, ISO 400
Vintage trouble in general has a nostalgia feel not only in their music but also in their looks. But while that might be true of the band in general, it’s striking about singer Ty Taylor, a living blend of James Brown and Junior Wells with the energy to live to that legacy. I shot this ages ago, but it went bizarrely unpublished until now.
Canon 7D, 80mm, f/2.8, 1/100s, ISO 1250
It’s often said that you can see a man’s soul in his eyes. Well, that’s certainly true of Ian McDonald, guitarist and vocals for the extraordinary funk/soul band Monophonics. This was shot in very bad conditions, the only redeeming feature being that I was literally in the band’s face. Don’t know if they liked it much, but I sure did!