Archive for the ‘Artists’ Category

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

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.

‘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

EMPIRICAL WIN MOBO AWARD IN LIVERPOOL

Last night in Liverpool my friends Lewis, Nathaniel, Shaney and Tom aka Empirical won the MOBO for best Jazz ‘Act’. I have the hangover from hell – don’t remember taking this picture but I found it in my camera today. I have to go sleep now. More to follow. Well done gentlemen!

Empirical collect their MOBO Award at Liverpool Echo Arena

Empirical collect their MOBO Award at Liverpool Echo Arena

The guys with Simon from Naim label, Danielle - 'The Management' and Julian Siegel who guested on the album Out 'n' In

The guys with Simon from Naim label, manager Danielle and Julian Siegel (drinking moderately as we all did) who guested on the album Out 'n' In

EVERYDAY PEOPLE: Spencer Tunick at The Lowry

Spencer Tunick at The Lowry, June 2010 © William Ellis

Spencer Tunick at The Lowry, June 2010 © William Ellis

You may have seen an earlier post about meeting Spencer Tunick last year – he was in Manchester quietely doing a recce for the shoot. The Lowry had commissioned him to create the work to mark the 10th Anniversary of the superb arts venue – an excellent idea which has worked brilliantly for them in every respect and given the gallery a compelling body of work.

At the opening I was struck by the relaxed yet very purposeful feel to the images and how Tunick had captured the spirit of Lowry’s paintings of the people of Salford walking in another age. Exhibition

clark terry – recording academy® lifetime achievement award: ct at hilton hotel nyc, 2004

Jimmy Heath with Clark Terry and friends

Jimmy Heath with Clark Terry and friends

Clark Terry, Louis Bellson, John Hendricks and Horace Silver

Clark Terry, Louie Bellson, Jon Hendricks and Horace Silver

Congratulations to Clark Terry on his recent award recognising his great contribution to the culture. These photographs were taken at the IAJE International Conference in January 2004, so sorry I don’t know who the lady is but I do know who is sitting behind her – is that Maria Callas too, Nancy Wilson’s throne awaits.

I don’t normally use flash but on these two occasions it was needed, won’t tell what I was called at the side of the stage – it was a blinding flash.

In Memory – Ed Thigpen: Toronto, 2003

I met Ed Thigpen backstage a few minutes before he was due to play with Benny Green and Russell Malone at the IAJE International Conference. The atmosphere was very relaxed so I asked him if he had a little time to spare so that I could photograph him, he smiled so I asked him to step over towards the stage manager’s lectern which a little shielded light on it bouncing the light up from the papers on it and made this portrait. We met up again at the Hilton in New York in 2006, it was great to see him, he was as busy as ever and chatted for a while about what we’d been up to – projects, gigs and it was such a pleasure to give him a large print of the picture you see here, he was so pleased and so was I.

A wonderful man and a real Master, we’ll all miss him. Bless.

Ed Thigpen Toronto 2003

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