Life in the City of Angels: Blue Room

Seemingly unconscious of my presences there is a moment between silence and mid-note that my lens captures Randy’s silhouette. He rehearses, then pauses to contemplate a melodic and rhythmic pattern – as he continues to rehearse Randy fills the room with waves of invisible sentiment. To the ear its blues, cool, romantic and yet a feeling of expressing pensive sadness. The rehearsal room tuns blue.

Studio A, Capital Records in Black and White

Special Thanks To:

  • Leader/Bass: Rickey Minor
  • Saxophone: Randolph Ellis, Miguel Gandelman, Ernie Fields, Jr.
  • Trumpet: Raymond Monteiro
  • Trombone: Garrett Smith
  • Keyboard: J. Wayne Linsey, David Delhomme
  • Guitar: Paul Jackson, Jr.
  • Drums: Teddy Campbell
  • Percussion: Kevin Ricard
  • Vocals: Dorian Holley

Life in The City of Angels: Doppelgänger, Michael and Edward

Michael Jackson Impersonator (1 of 1)While flipping burgers at McDonald’s in the early 90’s, Edward Moss was repeatedly told by co-workers and customers of his strong resemblance to the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. Edward likeness became his asset  leading him from the business of cardboard hamburgers to show business on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. One of Edward’s first appearances as “The Gloved One” was at the old Hollywood Wax Museum. Standing at the entrance of the museum as living statue of Michael Jackson. Curious tourist would stop to take a gander at what they thought was a wax figure. As the vacationers gather for a closer look on cue a track of music would blast from the museum speakers. Startled by the music and movement, Edward would start dancing across the polished entrance of the museum to the surprise and amusement of his audience. For the Hollywood Wax Museum they sold tickets and for Edward it was the beginning to a career as a Michael Jackson impersonator.

La Musica in B&W

 Music is a safe kind of high  -Jimi Hendrix

 It is my favorite assignment, photographing musicians while  in rehearsal or in a recording studios. It is the moment that the musicians delve deeply into the musical notes on a sheet of paper and give birth to a sound that becomes airborne with an arsenal of emotions. Like a still image, music can act as a synthetic acid which enhances flashbacks to a moment in time that has been joyful or painful and never forgotten. Music is the needle and thread that sews our humanity together and in spite of being in metal boxes on Golden State 5 you can witness the joy of Angelenos as they boogie, jive and groove to their own soundtrack, it is a collective consciousness of moving forward to the beat of their own music.

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It’s A Potpourri of Images!

Link: http://instagram.com/davebanksimages

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“Compared to What” Shooting Les McCann and Javon Jackson

Glenwood Recording Studio, Burbank, California

Les McCann

Les McCann first gained some fame in 1956 when he won a talent contest in the Navy as a singer that resulted in an appearance on television on The Ed Sullivan Show . McCann reached the peak of his career in 1968 Montreux Jazz Festival, recording “Compared to What” with saxophonist Eddie Harris. After the success of Swiss Movement album, McCann — primarily a piano player — began to emphasize his rough-hewn vocals more. He became an innovator in the soul jazz style, merging jazz with funk, soul and world rhythms. He was also among the first jazz musicians to include electric piano, clavinet, and synthesizer in his music. In 1971 McCann and Harris were part of a touring group of soul, R&B, and rock performers which included Wilson Pickett,The Staple Singers, Santan and Ike & Tina Turner. McCann is also credited in discovering Roberta Flack and obtained an audition which resulted in a recording contract for Ms. Flack with Atlantic Records.

Les McCann and Javon Jackson prior to recording

Javon Jackson

In the mid 90’s  McCann suffered a stroke that weakened his keyboard playing but his powerful singing kept him on the road. McCann’s comeback was solidified in 2002’s  with “Pump It Up” a guest-heavy celebration of funk and jazz released on ESC Records. To commemorate the 40th anniversary of Swiss Movement album, tenor saxophonist Javon Jackson brought veteran McCann and a young trio of musicians to the KC Jazz Club for Swiss Movement Revisited. 

Javon Jackson, Patrick Smith/ Audio Mixer and Les McCann

Javon Jackson

Jackson is used to working with legends he cut his musical teeth with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers in the 1980s. He went on to record with such greats as the late Freddie Hubbard, Elvin Jones, Cedar Walton and Stanley Turrentine. Jackson leads his own group, and his latest release (Once Upon a Melody) hit No. 1 on the jazz radio charts.

Les McCann listening to the playback

In a 2009 Kennedy Center performance the interaction between Jackson, his young talented musicians and the old lion at the keyboard, Les McCann, reminded the audience that the old lion can still roar with heart.

Hearing the sweet note

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