One LP – Graham Nash

GRAHAM NASH©WELLISw2

Graham Nash shares his One LP – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles. He was recording with The Hollies at Abbey Road at the same time the Fab Four were making the album that is truly timeless.

Full interview

Stan Tracey CBE – National Portrait Gallery, London

Stan Tracey; The Guildhall, Bath, 2003I

Stan Tracey; The Guildhall, Bath, 2003

I’m very proud that this portrait of Stan Tracey ‘Godfather of British Jazz’ has been acquired for the collection of The National Portrait Gallery in London.

It features ( along with Johnny Marr, Miles Davis and Teo Stevenson) in an interview I did with the New Statesman ‘The Art of Portraiture’ written by Rob Pollard.

It’s also on the London Jazzblog along with some more images.

This is an earlier piece on the blog with Stan Tracey.

SOWETO KINCH – JAZZ FM PHOTO OF THE MONTH

Soweto Kinch: Hockley, Birmingham, 6th August 2011

Soweto Kinch: Hockley, Birmingham, 6th August 2011

‘No saxophones were harmed in the making of this picture!

The Photo of the Month for March features one of the new stars of British jazz, saxophonist, rapper, producer and composer Soweto Kinch. Born in London but brought up in Birmingham, Soweto played with Gary Crosby’s Jazz Jamaica All Stars collective before bursting onto the scene with his debut album ‘Conversations With The Unseen’ in 2003. Critics raved about his alto sax playing which echoed greats such as Joe Harriott and Charlie Parker as well as modern masters Greg Osby and Kenny Garrett. Words by Matt Phillips – more at Jazz FM

The shoot was commissioned by Jazz FM for a forthcoming publication and when I asked Soweto where he’d like to be photographed he suggested the site of the annual multi-award-winning ‘The Flyover Show‘ which he heads up in Hockley, Birmingham.

So here we are – we did some closer images but I wanted to show the scale of the flyover itself which was massive and needed an expansive, heroic character to bring it down to size – Soweto! Naturally he said that launching the sax into the air would be the last thing on earth he would think of doing!’

Tony Bennett – New CD – William Ellis front cover

Tony Bennett©William Ellis

Cover of the latest release in Europe from Tony Bennett.
This photograph was taken at Glasgow Jazz Festival in 2003 during an outdoor concert in George Square.
I remember arriving just as Mr. Bennett went on, I quickly settled near the piano while around 20 other photographers flocked over on the right hand of the stage.
Sooner rather later he strolled over with the air of a Roman Emperor to sing his second song.

Cover of the latest release in Europe from Tony Bennett.

This photograph was taken at Glasgow Jazz Festival in 2003 during an outdoor concert in George Square.

I remember arriving just as Mr. Bennett went on, I quickly settled near the piano while around 20 other photographers flocked over on the right hand of the stage.

Sooner rather later he strolled over with the air of a Roman Emperor to sing his second song.

Order a print of the uncropped image

Format: CD Label: SONY BMG Catalogue Number: 88697985612 Barcode

Herbie Hancock – All That’s Jazz: KCET Los Angeles TV

I was contacted a couple of weeks ago by Karen at KCET about using some of my images in the Herbie Hancock profile – you can view images and hear interviews with NY based Jimmy Katz and myself here where I talk about the shoots with Herbie, MIles Davis and the wonderful Nancy Wilson.

A very informative and beautifully produced profile of the great man which features Gustavo Dudamel, Quincy Jones and Wayne Shorter – Herbie Hancock: All That’s Jazz – KCET Los Angeles

Herbie Hancock©william_ellis08-3741Herbie Hancock: Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, 2008

THE NELSON MANDELA FOUNDATION – JONAS GWANGWA

The Nelson Mandela Foundation is preparing an exhibition on the great South African musician Jonas Gwangwa and Amandla which will tour his homeland for a year.
I was honoured to recieve a request for the portrait of Mr. Gwangwa in Cape Town 2003 to be included in the presentation.
I was in Cape Town for my first international exhibition hosted by the Cape Town Jazz Festival in a joint show with Jürgen Schadeberg. whose work I have long admired.
My time with Mr. Gwangwa was short, for just a few minutes before his concert when we were literally alone backstage. He spoke to me of his long years in exile during the despicable apartheid regime then seemed to leave me to be with his thoughts and memories.
Jonas Gwangwa: Cape Town, 29th March 2003

Jonas Gwangwa: Cape Town, 29th March 2003

The Nelson Mandela Foundation is preparing an exhibition on the great South African musician Jonas Gwangwa and Amandla which will tour his homeland for a year.

I was honoured to recieve a request for this portrait of Mr. Gwangwa in Cape Town 2003 to be included in the presentation.

I was there for my first international exhibition hosted by the Cape Town Jazz Festival in a joint show with Jürgen Schadeberg. whose work I have long admired.

My time with Mr. Gwangwa was short, for just a few minutes before his concert when we were literally alone backstage. He spoke to me of his long years in exile during the despicable apartheid regime then seemed to leave me to be with his thoughts and memories.

McCoy Tyner – Jazz Fm Photo of the Month

McCoy Tyner: Brecon Jazz Festival, 2002

Each month I have a photo featured on the Jazz FM site. This month I’ve chosen one of the great McCoy Tyner taken during the sound check in the Market Hall at Brecon JF in 2002 with a Leica M6 and 90mm lens.

Brecon is one of my favourite festivals, I find the Brains beer they serve there makes me feel vey clever.

I digress, I don’t often crop images but this was one that I felt would be benefit, the space around McCoy was dark but distracted.

McCoy Tyner: Market Hall, Brecon Jazz Festival 2002
This was taken at the sound check on a Leica with a 90mm lens. I very rarely crop images but this is one i felt would benefit.
I remember it was the 10th of August for some strange reason.
One of the things I love about stage photography is how the lighting on the artist sometimes recreates a feel of the Hollywood look of the film stars of the 40’s and 50’s exemplified by the great British photographer Cornel Lucas.
I organised a masterclass given by him some years ago and will never forget how he subtly used bashers with dimmers to produce exquisite l lighting effects to create the image in his mind.
Many of the master portraitist Jousuf Karsh’s most famous photographs were made with similar lighting arrangements. Jazz master photographer Herman Leonard for a time assisted the great photographer.
The year after on my first visit to NYC in 2003 I was staying in a place just off Time Square,
I picked up The Village Voice from a machine and went straight to the jazz listings – incredible – of course many of the worlds leading players are based in the city.
The one that hit me was McCoy Tyner with Michael Brecker at Iridium, just 5 minutes from where I stood.
To begin the evening I went to Sardis on West 44th, a famous show biz restaurant and bar enjoyed a libation and left for the club.
I was in New York over the weekend enroute for a festival in Toronto I had some prints with me to show there and would you believe it, I had this one and a mounted one of Michael Brecker’s tenor taken at Glasgow JF on a Hasselblad years earlier.
I managed to get myself introduced to the guys backstage had a chat and gave them the prints, i had 2 of this one with me, I don’t know why – must have been for this night , McCoy signed one for me which hangs on the wall.
You can see Mr. Tyner at London Jazz Festival this year.
Words: Matt Phillips and William Ellis
Ready to frame archival prints are available from only £15.00. A3 posters, £17.50 from the online shop.
Free deliveryon all orders placed until 31st January 2011.

Visit Jazz FM to view the feature and listMcCoy Tyner: Market Hall, Brecon Jazz Festival 2002

I very rarely crop images but this is one i felt would benefit.

I very rarely crop an image but I felt this was one that would benefit.

One of the things I love about stage photography is how the lighting on the artist sometimes recreates a feel of the Hollywood look of the film stars of the 40’s and 50’s exemplified by the great British photographer Cornel Lucas.I organised a masterclass given by him some years ago and will never forget how he subtly used bashers with dimmers to produce exquisite lighting effects to create the image in his mind.

Many of the master portraitist Jousuf Karsh’s most famous photographs were made with similar lighting arrangements and jazz master photographer Herman Leonard assisted him for a time which is where I’m sure he acquired some of the skills he used to great effect.

A thought – the year after this was taken I was on my first visit to NYC in 2003 I was staying in a place just off Time Square and picked up The Village Voice from a machine and went straight to the jazz listings – incredible – of course many of the worlds leading players are based in the city.

The one that hit me was McCoy Tyner with Michael Brecker at Iridium, just 5 minutes from where I stood. To begin the evening I went to Sardis on West 44th, a famous show biz restaurant and bar enjoyed a libation and left for the club.

I was in New York over the weekend enroute for a festival in Toronto I had some prints with me to show there and would you believe it, I had this one and a mounted one of Michael Brecker’s tenor taken at Glasgow JF on a Hasselblad years earlier. I managed to get myself introduced to the guys backstage had a chat and gave them the prints, I had 2 of this one with me, I don’t know why – must have been for this night in New York.

You can see Mr. Tyner at London Jazz Festival this year.

Ready to frame archival prints are available from only £15.00. A3 posters, £17.50 from ye olde online shop. Free delivery on all orders placed until 31st January 2011.

Visit Jazz FM to view the feature and listen online.

Jimi Hendrix: Photographs by Gered Mankowitz. Exhibition opened by Johnny Marr

Jimi Hendrix was one of the most gifted and influential musicians of the 20th century. I think had he lived he would gone on to be a kind of Duke Ellington figure. Gered’s show entitiled ‘Jimi Hendrix: The Mason’s Yard Sessions 1967 – Remastered’ is at the Richard Goodall Gallery in Manchester until 5th March 2011. The site has an in-depth description of the work and how it was produced.

I first met Gered around 10 years ago when he was giving a talk on his work with Jimi, the Stones and many other major artists at Focus on Imaging when I was working with Hasselblad. We became friends and the company became involved in some interesting projects with him.

Gered has done a wonderful job of reinterpreting many of his stunning images of Jimi and there is still an important presence of the superb original black and white portraits. These helped to define Jimi’s image at the time and even more significantly reflect the warmth and humour of a wonderfully talented young man about to make his mark on the world.

Johnny Marr opened the exhibition with some very interesting and appreciative points about Jimi – and Gered’s truly iconic images of course. He also revelaed that when he was invited by VOX the famous amplifier manufacturer to endorse their products, Johnny was asked who he would like to do the photo shoot – he requested Gered Mankowitz…

Richard Goodall, Johnny Marr and Gered Mankowitz during the opening

Richard Goodall, Johnny Marr and Gered Mankowitz during the opening

Johnny and Gered

Johnny and Gered

Richard, Johnny, Gered and guest Noddy Holder

Richard, Johnny, Gered and guest Noddy Holder

A superb source of information on the great man - Jimi Hendrix Record Guide

New Brighton CA

These were taken as I walked from the Floral Pavilion to the Royal Hotel for something to eat after the final rehearsal/sound check of the Django Suite concert just before the performance. New Brighton has that LA film noire feel at night. It was so unbelievably cold, I didn’t have my 24 TSE with me so these were done with 24-70/2.8, the tripod was in the boot of course (with my nice warm hat snuggled up to it). If there was a prize on offer for being consistently unnecessarily uncomfortable it would have name on it. These were taken hand held of course at ridiculous film speeds. Must go back with the right gear sometime, anyway, when I left the hotel it was warmer somehow and a heavy fog had fallen, big ships on the Mersey were sounding their horns in the murk (or perhaps it was Barnesy’s bari) which added to the ominous movie set feel.

wNew Brighton_MG_9980©William Ellis

New Brighton_MG_9973©William Ellis

New Brighton_MG_9990©William Ellis

New Brighton_MG_9993©William Ellis

New Brighton_MG_9997©William Ellis

‘Keeper of the Flame’ – Modern Jazz in Manchester, 1946 – 1972 by Bill Birch: Cinnamon Club launch

Straight after the ‘Spirit of Django concert I drove to the Cinnamon Club in Bowdon to attend the launch of Bill Birch’s new book ‘Keeper of the Flame’ with foreward by Don Rendell. Bill’s experience in the printing world has helped him to publish the definitive work of the highest production values on a fascinating subject which has not been covered comprehensively until now. You can get the more information on this superb book here in a synopsis on Jazz Clubs Worldwide.

I have never met anyone quite like Bill, first time at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester (built behind the facade of the Free Trade Hall where many gigs took place and where I went to my first – Black Sabbath in around 1972 – and this is where Dylans’s ‘Live at the Royal Albert Hall was actually recorded) at a Jeremy Sassoon gig where his enthusiasm and knowledge on the Club 43 and the Manchester jazz scene were simply not containable by any vessel known to man – except for that wonderful invention – the book. I only look at the superb pictures – the text is already embedded in my mind – Bill told me the story of how it all happened in Manchester in a few breathless minutes as he showed me the print proofs and told me how he had spent so much time at the printers directing everything down to the ink mix for his labour of love.

Pretty well every major artist in jazz appears in this book on and off stage giving a fascinating into life on the road – including Billie Holliday at The Midland Hotel after her concert – with the late night familiar view of no food available but perhaps a little drink. As I mentioned earlier the print quality is first class especially bearing in mind that many images are from vintage prints and not in first class condition.

There are many atmospheric images – it’s hard to tear myself away to write this with great work in view by the boss –  Terry Cryer, – Sefton Samuels, Brian Foskett, Brian Lawton, Malcolm Carling, Peter Vacher and so many other talented photographers who keep the flame alive and bright.

There was music of course with a bebopping band you see here lead by the very Iain Dixon. I’m sure he won’t mind me saying that, Mike Walker’s very dry humour is spreading by osmosis.

Some night – some book!

Signed book – £@25.00 + £5.50 UK PP  order form – go on!

Cinnamon Club on Facebook

Mr. Bill Birch

Mr. Bill Birch

Bill with guests

Bill with guests

Neil Hughes of the Cinnamon Club (right) and actor Phil Hackland of 'Shameless'

Neil Hughes of the Cinnamon Club (right) and actor Phil Hackland of 'Shameless'

Bill_Launch_Cinn_MG_0241©William Ellis

The Band (Les Chisnall to left of Dave Green)

Bill_Launch_Cinn_MG_0221©William Ellis

Caroline Boaden

Frank Toms

Frank Toms

Bill_Launch_Cinn_MG_0200©William Ellis

Iain Dixon

Bill_Launch_Cinn_MG_0263©William Ellis

Jack Massarik

Bill_Launch_Cinn_MG_0254©William Ellis

Mike Farmer

Bill_Launch_Cinn_MG_0242©William Ellis

Peter Maguire

A few words from Bill Birch

A few words from Bill Birch