Performance Art: Jazz

Andy Clausen (left) looks on as Riley Mulherkar takes a solo on trumpet at the Royal Room.

Andy Clausen (left) looks on as Riley Mulherkar takes a solo on trumpet at the Royal Room.

I met a mother of a jazz drummer last night during the amazing performance by Thomas Marriott and Joe Locke at Tula’s and, as I was explaining my enthusiasm for photographing artists in performance, realized that a lot of my jazz work is not present on this blog. So I’m rectifying some of that.

(NOTE: Clicking on photos will launch a larger version in a separate browser window).

Some people may wonder why anyone would willingness take a camera into virtually darkness, where the only light not only is fleeting, but funky and inconsistent. Are you kidding me? After all, I spent years photographing girl’s basketball in the worst possible lighting.

Sometimes you just go with the funkiness, as I did last winter with my friend Jovino Santos Neto, one of the great jazz pianists and Brazilian poets of our time, who happens to grace the city of Seattle with his presence.

Here, I went for rim lighting in Jovino’s hair:

Jovino Santos Neto at the Royal Room in Columbia City.

Jovino Santos Neto at the Royal Room in Columbia City.

And here, I wanted to show the light and the quicksilver nature of Jovino’s hands. It’s a bonus to get just a bit of facial reaction from him:

The masterful hands of Jovino Santos Neto.

The masterful hands of Jovino Santos Neto.

The opening shot of this post is of youngsters Andy Clausen and Riley Mulherkar, former high-school rivals who have joined forces in Seattle and back in New York City, where they are roommates. If you follow the high-school scene, which is epic here, you know that Garfield (Mulherkar) and Roosevelt (Clausen) are giants, not only locally, but nationally, as well. Big things are going to come from these two.

The pictures of Clausen and Mulherkar were taken at the Royal Room, which might offer the best performance setup in the city. It also usually offers great ambient lighting in the summer; however, the light can be frustrating because the big front picture window allows blinding rays early in the evening. That makes for some blown highlights and white-balance challenges. So you go for impact elsewhere.

I like to get right up in there, where you normally wouldn’t be if you were, say, just sitting in the audience.

Andy Clausen on trombone at the Royal Room in Columbia City.

Andy Clausen on trombone at the Royal Room in Columbia City.

Riley Mulherkar on trumpt at the Royal Room in Columbia City.

Riley Mulherkar on trumpt at the Royal Room in Columbia City.

Or show concentration and intensity:

Andy Clausen on trombone at the Royal Room in Columbia City.

Andy Clausen on trombone at the Royal Room in Columbia City.

Or a brief, quiet, artistic reload:

Riley Mulherkar on trumpet at the Royal Room in Columbia City.

Riley Mulherkar on trumpet at the Royal Room in Columbia City.

Or just go where the light takes you:

Gus Cams takes a contemplative moment at the piano.

Gus Cams takes a contemplative moment at the piano.

Riley Mulherkar (left) and Andy Clausen at the Royal Room.

Riley Mulherkar (left) and Andy Clausen at the Royal Room.

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