Jazz and Blues
Documenting the annual PDX JazzFest for Lensbaby to show how their Edge 80 performs under the demands of a concert performance. Excerpts of that photo essay follow.
(Above: Kenny Barron)
No discussion or portrayal of jazz would be complete without documenting the collaboration that exists between band members onstage, “the very human, even social need for sympathy from all members to bend for the common result.” as Bill Evans wrote in the liner notes for Kind of Blue. Evans suggests that the “improvising musical group needs its framework in time.” The challenge for me, then, was to capture a moment that reflects that framework. Whether it’s two artists deeply invested in creating a groove together or sharing a silent moment, “the notes you don’t play,” as Miles Davis is often quoted as saying. Both offer rich visual material and insight into the process of creation and performance.
Most jazz artists tend to be more reserved on stage. In four decades of attending jazz performances I scarcely recall any raised and clenched fists. The jazz tradition seems to demand a sense of humility and restraint. That doesn’t mean it lacks the intensity of a rock and roll performance — it’s just more personal, a type of engaging and intimate conversation with the audience.
Because conversation inherently lacks a certain visual appeal, shooting those nuances poses a special challenge to the photographer. As a jazz festival is predicated on performance, however, I chose to focus on the intensely personal relationship artists have with their music as well as their audience, and recognize the countless private hours of they spent honing their craft – playing songs ad nauseam where the only audience is a blank wall or a disgruntled neighbor.
Read the entire article here: lensbaby.com/portland-jazz-fest/