Day 3 of London Jazz Festival 2009. Have you ever been in a sweet shop and you find yourself spoilt for choice, but you only have cash to spend on one item? That’s the predicament I found myself today. I had to either shoot Chick Corea, Stanley Clark and Lenny White (The Power of Three) plus Bela Fleck at either 3pm or 7.30pm at the Barbican. Problem was that it coincided with Robert Glasper performing at Queen Elizabeth Hall at 7.30pm, and if you’ve tried taking public transport, especially the Jubilee line during the weekend, then there’s the high probability of you being sorely disappointed. Now, the logical thing would be to ask for the 3pm slot to shoot the show. I guess I thought I was really smart: unknown to me, that time frame had already been oversubscribed with other photographers! I nearly did miss on the Power of Three because I’d already seen the group as a whole as ‘Return to Forever‘ last year, passing them over for Robert Glasper would have been my best bet. Thankfully, my lovely people at the Barbican (A & A) mananged to reach a compromise with me: Shoot from the sound booth. Trust me: any other gig, I’d have second thoughts. For these guys, I’m game!
It was never really going to be an easy shoot, no matter where you positioned yourself. So, apologies if you just see the back of Chick Corea:
Stanley Clarke on Double Bass and Lenny White on Drums:
Seeing these guys play, you can tell that they have fun. Even on stage, there were instances where they didn’t take themselves seriously. That’s what I like about musicians like these: don’t be stuck up like a schmuck!
Prior to the guys performing, Grammy award winning banjo player Bela Fleck and his crew put on an interesting show. I didn’t think that the banjo could sound that intresting from a jazz perspective.
Three hours later and with suprisingly good public transport, it’s jazz with a twist with the Robert Glasper Trio & Bilal. Or so I thought. First off was the support act called Stonephace. Suffice to say I walked out within 30 seconds, and not just because the lighting was a harsh blue! When Robert Glasper came on, you could tell he was a joker but having the time of his life:
With a mixture of improvisation and hip-hop, even the most clueless musical neanderthal would have appreciated the synergy of the trio.
Now, here’s the sour night of the gig, and I reckon I should write about this. The gig was Robert Glasper Trio + Bilal, and to be honest, that was the setup that I wanted to shoot. So, what happens? As soon as R.G finishes the second song to introduce Bilal, we get chucked out of the venue! WHAT THE PIX?!?!?! That was the whole flaming reason why I was there in the first instance! I can’t say I wasn’t miffed by the whole situation, but hey! This is what has become the situation of photographers. I did manage to get one shot; better than nothing:
Next stop: Naturally 7.