Fuji xpro2, 52mm, f/2.8, 1/125s, ISO 3200
Lettuce is a hard hitting modern funk band whose bass player, Jesus Coomes is nothing short of a stage imp. Not only does he play wicked bass grooves, but he jumps up and down like a madman and wears the silliest socks. Go check Lettuce if you can, it’s a guaranteed evening of fine music and booty shake.
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 ?)
League Grade Scowl
Canon EOS 7D, 130mm, f/2, 1/100s, ISO 800
Michael League, as my friend Marcus puts it, is the rarest of bass players: he seems to smile all the time. Once in a while though you can catch him scowling like he did here at this Forq gig in Paris last summer.
Canon 7D, 150mm, f/4, 1/250s, ISO 1600
Michael League is the bassist, band leader and principal composer/arranger of the increasingly renowned band Snarky Puppy. Unlike most jazz bassists (although I don’t quite know why), he’s upbeat and nearly always smiling on stage, which is why I picked a slightly more sober picture of him. If you’re not too fond of jazz, pick their Family Dinner vol. 1 record, full of soulful singing guests. If you’re happy with (modern) instrumental jazz, check out We Like it Here.
Contrebasse en Ombres
Canon 7D, 110mm, f/3,2, 1/160s, ISO 1600
I find the double bass not only a beautiful instrument when I listen to it, but also when I take photos of it. Thomas Bramerie is the fantastic bass player in Eric Legnini’s Sing Twice! project and this was shot at the release party of their album in 2013. What a night!
Canon 7D, 80mm, F/2, 1/40s, ISO 1000
While I was preparing my business trip to San Francisco a few weeks back I found out that Charlie Hunter was playing in Mill Valley on the one evening I was free. I booked tickets and was treated to a wonderful light-hearted duo gig with Charlie on his weird bass-guitar hybrid and Scott Amendola on drums. I wasn’t close enough to the stage for repeated shooting, so I just soaked in the music and laughed at the stage banter and interaction between these two wonderful musicians. Still, I managed to capture this shot which exemplifies the trademark Charlie Hunter face contorsion in the middle of a solo. Processed in Lightroom with X-Equals’ XeL 2.0
Bass in the Dark
Canon 7D + Lensbaby, 80mm, f/4, 1/100s, ISO 800
When I revisit old concert shots, I occasionally stumble upon some under-exposed ones that seem to have potential. Instead of trying to get the exposition corrected, I sometimes go deeper into underexposition to try and get a mood out of them. This is a photo of bassist Gilles Coquard at a Sébastien Charlier concert. It was shot with the lensbaby, and I like how the silhouette is picked up by a tiny bit of backlighting. I think it works, but I’m not quite sure and I’d certainly like to hear what you think.
Canon 7D + Lensbaby Composer, f/4, 1/125s, ISO 500
I’ve started working on a book project showing my favourite B&W concert shots and talking about the musicians and why I love their music. I was sorting through the photos of an Avishai Cohen gig from 2010 when this shot came up. It was in color, but I tweaked a nice B&W and I think it works a treat. Edited in Lightroom with x-equals’ XeL 2.0.
Plucking the Strings
Canon 7D, 110mm, f/3.2, 1/125s, ISO 1600
This is one of those shots that you may find underexposed, but that I deliberately shot this way. When shooting jazz, increasingly, I find that trying to get as much detail as possible is counter productive if the goal is to set mood. I detail that approach in an article published on the X-Equals blog entitled Embracing the Shadows. That article, incidentally, shows another shot of bassist Thomas Brameria from the same session.
Canon 7D, 135mm, f/2.8, 1/100s, ISO 1600
I’ve seen the Dirty Dozen Brass Band five times now, but only twice with original sousaphone player Kirk Joseph, and last week was one of those two. Kirk Joseph is an imposing gentleman, and a very modern player (he has a rack of pedals in front of him when he plays that would make many a guitar player drool). I was quite pleased with this shot of him in the middle of a solo.