Photography, Music, and Friendship.
My love of photography has helped me develop close and enduring friendships with musicians. Through photography, I got to meet Janis Joplin‘s brother. Through photography I got to meet Chris Brubeck, one of Dave Brubeck‘s musician sons. I interviewed him in my home studio for about an hour. We covered topics of religion and politics and what it’s like to be the son of a world renowned musician. At the Monterey Jazz Festival I took photographs of jazz singer, Clairdee. That led to a long and enduring friendship with her and her husband, Ken French.
Locally, I photographed a piano player and singer, Nancy Gilliland. That has led to a very close relationship with Nancy and her husband, John.
In 2006 I took a photograph of Katie Thiroux at the Monterey Jazz Festival. At that time she was there with a quartet from the Berklee school of music.
Katie played again at Monterey in 2015. I did a brief interview with her then. She mentioned, to my delight, that the photo I took of her in 2006 is the most requested photo that promoters want to publicize her gigs.
At that meeting she played a solo base number for me from her new album, Meet Katie Thoreau.
She told me a story that knocked me out. On the album cover is a photo of her wearing saddle shoes. She explained that those shoes were given to her by Jeff Hamilton, a drummer who used to play with Ray Brown. Ray Brown is a world renowned bass player who died a few years ago. He is a hero of Katie‘s. She always wanted to know everything about him and would pump Jeff for information. Finally she asked Jeff what he wore when he played. Geoff explained Ray had these favorite shoes he wore when he play. Jeff had them, and gave the shoes to Katie . She wore Ray’s shoes in the photo of her very first CD.
Since then Katie has become a renowned bass player traveling around the world with her trio. In 2018 she was booked at the Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society jazz club in half Moon Bay. I eagerly awaited her to hit the stage. When she came in from the back of the room with her quartet, I began to cry. Weird huh? It was as though she was my daughter. I had followed her from her college days to this wild success that she’s having today as an award-winning jazz player with a world-wide reputation. A very powerful experience for me .
She played again at Monterey on the garden stage with her trio. Here is the video I took with my iPhone.
I am so grateful that I have been able to use my love of photography to meet and become friends with these musicians.
Let ‘er Rip!