Gnawa Street Musician
Canon 7D, 80mm, f/2.8, 1/1250s, ISO 400
There are street musicians you just want to give money to. This guy had such a smile that you couldn’t resist him. I don’t remember how the music was, but it’s one of the only things in Marrakech that I really liked (the rest of Morocco was much more interesting).
Fuji XPRO2, 50mm, f/2, 1/100s, ISO 2500
Scott Henderson is an impressive jazz-rock guitarist who played with (amongst others) Weather Report in his younger days. I saw him live with his trio in Hong Kong last October. I was sitting in the front row which made for great photos, but really hurt my ears it was so loud…
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.
Julian in Shades
Canon 7D, 135mm, f/2, 1/100s, ISO 1250
The New Morning in Paris is a tricky club to shoot in. The light is harsh and there’s always something in the background. With the Soul Rebels it’s made even harder by the fact that most of them have one or two microphone stands in front of them. So I was quite pleased with this shot of Julian Gosin in his shades.
Corey on the Bone
Canon 7D, 145mm, f/2.8, 1/80s, ISO 1600
The Soul Rebels Brass Band hails from New Orleans and is undoubtedly one of the most raucous acts I have ever seen. Last Saturday I went to their gig at the New Morning in Paris, and despite this being the third time I see them, it was the most fun I’d had of all three gigs. As usual with the New Morning, photo conditions were rough, but I hope to have enough good shots of them to last the week.
iPhone 6 + Hipstamatic
When planning still life shots, and assuming you’re not just shooting one object, you have to build something visually interesting to shoot. The previous shots were either easy (line up harmonicas) or random (throw the harps on the table and shoot). This one has a little more forethought. I really like the end result. I’ll probably try this again with a real camera.
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, 1/100s, ISO 1600
Bigre! is the funkiest Big Band I’ve ever heard. It features a veritable army of trombones, and far be it from me to suggest that one is better than the other, but this guy, Sylvain Thomas, sure sounded amazingly raw! Check out their latest album To Bigre! or Not to Bigre!, well worth a listen.
Canon 7D, 320mm, f/4, 1/320s, ISO 1600
Some types of musicians are just hard to shoot: pianists are a particular challenge, I find. No so drummers. By definition, there’s always something going on and the instrument itself is a natural frame. Having said that, while it’s easy to visualise the shot, it’s actually devilishly hard to execute sometimes: getting the eyes open, the drumsticks up and a good facial expression altogether at the same time (not to mention a sharp shot, since drummers are often at the back, so your zoom is all the way out…) Anyway, when it works, it’s rewarding, and I really like this shot of Snarky Puppy drummer Larnell Lewis. Especially the sweat dripping down his backlit temples, that was the unexpected bonus.