Subscribe to Syndicate
Submitted by m3jimphoto on Thu, 07/05/2012 - 6:09pm

JIM MARSHALL: The Rolling Stones and Beyond, NYC Exhibition Opens Tonight

A quick shout out to all you Jim Marshall and Rolling Stones devotees out there, especially in the NY-NJ Metro area.  Tonight in New York City at the Steven Kasher Gallery in Chelsea, Jim Marshall’s much-anticipated Rolling Stones and Beyond exhibition opens with a reception from 6 p.m to 8 p.m.

The details:

Steven Kasher Gallery
521 W. 23rd St.,
New York, NY 10011
Opening Reception: July 5, 6-8pm
Gallery hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 11am to 6pm

For more information or press requests please contact Christiona Owen at 212 966 3978 or christiona@stevenkasher.com.

Here's a nice bit of press from the folks at Complex Media's Art & Design Blog, with great commentary from Amelia Davis on the stories behind his images, including a classic Jagger, check it out.  And, if you're lucky enough to be in NYC tonight, go check out the exhibition -- the show also features a wall of Jim Marshall album covers shot by him and culled from his personal collection -- it is truly fascinating.

Submitted by m3jimphoto on Thu, 06/28/2012 - 11:13pm

The Rolling Stones 1972: When Jim Was Just ‘Another Stone’

“It’s great to be here.  Great to be anywhere.”  - Keith Richards

Yes, Keef, I couldn't agree more, especially if you are talking about being featured in the newest book project from Jim Marshall Photography LLC: “The Rolling Stones 1972.” This much-anticipated Chronicle Books release features black and white and color photos taken in the studio, on tour and for publicity in 1972.  The tour shots were done in just one week on the West Coast when Jim was on assignment for Life Magazine, along with the writer Tommy Thompson, in July of 1972; the studio shots were done while the Stones finished recording "Exile on Main Street," at LA's Sunset Studios, now widely considered the band's greatest album. The book, to which veteran music journalist and SF Chronicle critic Joel Selvin contributed his usual thoughtful, thorough prose, was originally slated to hit stores in September; however, based on the strength of the online pre-orders, Chronicle Books has decided to make the book available August 1. Here's a link for the book on Amazon's pre-order page, and a blurb from Chronicle Books:

"In 1972, the Rolling Stones marked their first decade as a band with the release of Exile on Main St. and a summer concert tour of America that set new standards for magnificence in live performance. Covering the tour for Life magazine, photographer Jim Marshall captured indelible moments of the Stones in their glory onstage, as well as the camaraderie behind the scenes. Featuring a foreword by Keith Richards, this volume presents Marshall's shots alongside dozens of never-before-seen frames. Stones fans celebrating their 5oth anniversary will revel in this unprecedented look at one of the biggest rock bands of all time from the photographer who captured them best."

Right Place, Right Time

In addition to capturing the Stones at Sunset Studios putting the finishing touches on the band's greatest recording, Jim also managed to witness them producing the highest grossing tour ($4 million) to that point.  Simply put: The Stones' STP tour in 1972 set the standard for rock shows. Check out the book’s exclusive initial sneak peak on CNN and CNN photo blog (thanks for the shout out Tim Lampe!), here’s an excerpt: “Legendary rock-and-roll photographer Jim Marshall spent time with musicians in a way that journalists could only dream of today. Before his death in 2010, he captured some of the most influential and personal moments in music history, including these previously unpublished images of the Rolling Stones on tour in 1972. “Working in a different era, Marshall became friends with the musicians and gained access that other photographers could not. He was proud of the fact that ‘in his 52 years as a photojournalist he never got a complaint from any subject, manager or record company,’ he said in his first book, Not Fade Away.

“Marshall had a ‘fly on the wall’ approach during sessions with a band – sometimes they almost forgot he was in the room. ‘Once Jim was in, he was another Stone,’ Rolling Stones band member Keith Richards says in the foreword of Marshall’s posthumous book, The Rolling Stones 1972. “ ‘I get so immersed in it that I become one with the camera,’ Marshall said in Not Fade Away. ‘I’m 95 percent involved in the moment and the other five percent of me is working the camera, being the mechanic. … I want someone to see those people, not my picture of them.’ ”

Steven Kasher Gallery Exhibit Opens July 5

For those of you hungry for more of Jim’s Stones work, next week the first of several complementary exhibitions kicks off at the Steven Kasher Gallery, 521 West 23rd Street in NYC from July 5 to Sept. 8, 2012.  This not-to-be-missed show offers Estate Limited Edition prints of images from the "The Rolling Stones 1972," plus other iconic photos of the Stones.  In addition, the exhibit showcases selections from Jim’s enormous catalog of music’s greatest legends, with more than 40 photographs of jazz, country, folk, rock and blues musicians. And a rare treat: a devotional wall composed of 150 original LP covers by Jim, all from his personal collection. Stay tuned for more on upcoming JMPLLC exhibits next week!  

Submitted by m3jimphoto on Thu, 06/14/2012 - 10:22pm

From Jim's Personal Album Collection: The Early Covers

After Jim passed away – it’s hard to believe he’s been gone more than two years now – it was left to Amelia Davis and Bonita Passarelli to deal with the sudden grief, the business particulars and challenges and, most importantly, hunker down to protect his legacy. First and foremost, that legacy hinged on his body of work and archive, but the work also included all of Jim’s personal effects, his gear and his treasured belongings and collections, including a rather eclectic collection of nearly 1,000 albums that highlighted many of his personal greatest hits, so to speak. In the next few blogs we are going to feature album covers and album packages culled from the albums that were in Jim’s personal collection on the day he died – many of them signed by him (not for posterity but to prevent them from being stolen, just like any other obsessive vinyl collector would do).

More Than Meets the Eye

I have talked a lot in these blogs about the fact that Jim Marshall was much more than just the infamous pain-in-the-ass rock ‘n roll photographer, about how much bigger his eyes and ears and heart were and how much broader his interests in literature and art and music really were … and how that was a hallmark of his career right from the very start in the early '60s. Hence, it’s no surprise that the year 1963 was a breakout year for him record label assignment-wise as well (he had 11 albums in his personal collection from that year alone). So it seems only fitting to lead off with some of our favorites from '63 and some wiki notes and artist's bios on the musicians and scenes that inspired him and resulted in some of his earliest, most treasured album package assignments.  Enjoy!  

Al Grey

"During World War II he served in the Navy where he started playing the trombone. Soon after his discharge he joined Benny Carter's band and later the trombone section of Lionel Hampton. After some solo work Grey joined Dizzy Gillespie's big band in 1956. In October 1957 Count Basie urgently needed a fill-in for his European tour and Al Grey luckily was in the right place at the right time. "After 1961 Grey performed only occasionally with the Count. Apart from leading his own combos, he appeared with many jazz greats such as Herbie Hancock, Quincy Jones and even Ray Charles.  He is featured on Count Basie recordings with Ella Fitzgerald or Frank Sinatra and recorded “Snap Your Fingers.”  His trombone skills were also featured on the award-winning soundtrack for Steven Spielberg's film "The Color Purple." "Al Grey's early trombone style was inspired by Trummy Young.  He developed a wild, strong and full sound.  Solos often consisted of short, pronounced phrases with precisely timed syncopation.  When playing with the plunger, however, he would produce the most mellow fill-ins and shape melodic answers to the lead voice."

Carolyn Hester

"Carolyn Hester is a noted Folk Singer from the 60's Greenwich Villiage Folk Scene. She appeared on the cover of the "Saturday Evening Post" in the May 30th, 1964 issue and has been remembered in many books including 'Chronicles,' Bob Dylan's autobiography, as being the person who was most instrumental in Dylan's signing to Columbia records - the label that took an unknown singer-songwriter and elevated him to super-stardom. "Hester is known for her angelic voice and her repertoire of traditional English ballads mixed with an original selection of contemporary folk. She has recorded more than fifteen albums in her fifty years of performing. She was signed to the Decca/Coral label in 1957 by her manager-producer, Norman Petty. Also under Petty's influence at that time, was a hip entertainer and friend of Hester's, Buddy Holly. Throughout the '60s, Hester was well-established in the Greenwhich Village folk scene where she met a young, Bob Dylan. "Since 1972, Hester has played almost annually at the Kerrville Folk Festival in Kerrville, Texas and served as a member of the board of directors for most of that time. In 1992, Hester was asked to perform at the Bob Dylan tribute at Madison Square Garden which celebrated Dylan's 30th year recording for Columbia. Hester has appeared as a guest artist on many albums including the Grammy-Award winning album by Nanci Griffith, 'Other Voices, Other Rooms' recorded in 1993."

Mahalia Jackson 

“An American gospel singer.  Possessing a powerful contralto voice, she was referred to as ‘The Queen of Gospel.’  Jackson became one of the most influential gospel singers in the world and was heralded internationally as a singer and civil rights activist.  She was described by entertainer Harry Belafonte as ‘the single most powerful black woman in the United States.’  She recorded about 30 albums (mostly for Columbia Records) during her career, and her 45 rpm records included a dozen ‘golds’ — million sellers. “At the March on Washington in 1963, she sang in front of 250,000 people "How I Got Over" and "I've Been 'Buked, and I've Been Scorned". Martin Luther King, Jr. made his famous "I Have a Dream" speech there. She also sang "Take My Hand, Precious Lord" at his funeral after he was assassinated in 1968.”

Submitted by m3jimphoto on Thu, 05/31/2012 - 10:18pm

Carlos Santana, Guitar Great

I’m rounding up our final Carlos Santana-centric blog this month focusing on the skill that got him his first notice, his riveting, instantly recognizable guitar playing and improvising. One of the many things that distinguished Jim’s talent as a photographer, especially in his early years, was his extraordinary knack for recognizing talent very early, gaining the trust of those talented artists and musicians, and forging lifelong connections and collaborations with them. As I’ve pointed out time and again, these types of connections allowed Jim to do what he did best: observe, listen and then somehow capture still images that had the impact of entire movies, what Jim used to call the “hero shots.”  As near as I could tell, what he really meant by “hero” was that they were images that in some nearly mystical way made you feel something powerful.  Whether it was in a loud way or a quiet way really didn’t seem to matter to Jim.

Often, it’s a well-timed whisper that gives you that life-saving smack to the solar plexus or maybe it’s that perfectly framed B/W image that comes in at the nick of time to help save your day.  I like to think Carlos has the same approach to his form of creating. Here’s a nice overview by Daniel Durchholz of “Santana,” the band's original studio recording for Columbia which Jim documented so well: “By the time Santana arrived on the San Francisco scene in 1968, the Grateful Dead’s freeform antics were already legendary. But Santana was a jam band of another order -- fueled by Latin rhythms, blues, bebop, and straight-ahead rock.  Having set the audience at the 1969 Woodstock festival on its collective ear, the band did the same for the nation with its self-titled debut, released later that summer.  Songs such as ‘Evil Ways,’ ‘Jingo,’ and ‘Soul Sacrifice’ contain extraordinary ensemble playing, powered by percolating congas and timbales and topped by the grippingly human cry of Carlos Santana’s guitar.  The 1998 reissue of the album contains three bonus tracks recorded live at Woodstock: ‘Savor,’ ‘Soul Sacrifice,’ and ‘Fried Neckbones.’ ”

The shots we’re presenting today span the first decade or two of Carlos’s musical career and do a solid job of showcasing both of these young men’s burgeoning talents ... in my opinion where Jim and Carlos are concerned it is definitely a case of “took one to know one.” Like Nobody Else ... As a guitar player, Carlos is renowned for his tone and “voice,” and as someone who sawed away mercilessly at the violin for years before I abandoned it for the acoustic guitar (sorry, Mom!), it makes a ton of sense to me to learn that Carlos initially played the violin and that his father was an accomplished violinist.  His phrasing and approach still seem to have echoes of that earlier set of strings.

To me, it’s like Carlos sings through his guitar.  Jim used to tell me Carlos’ approach to solos, in particular, was lyrical, I love the description above: “a grippingly human cry.”  Having grown up in the San Francisco Bay Area in the ’70s, to me the Santana guitar sound and jam band format feels like it was just always there in my head, one of the first, most musical sounds I can conjure, a seminal orchestra, but I’ll leave the technical descriptions and technique depictions to the experts.  For any gearheads or guitar geeks out there, here’s a decent site that gives a good overview of Carlos’ choice of guitars, amps, effects, etc. over the years.

Carlos just seemed to bring out the humanity in Jim.  I have a color print of Carlos taken by Jim in the late ’80s during a formal portrait sitting, I believe, at Dennis Gray’s studio in Hunter’s Point in SF.  In my print, Carlos is looking right smack into the camera with that inimitable straightforward gaze, the perfect, peaceful amount of light in his eyes.  I remember Jim calling me up in NYC to say that he felt he really had finally gotten, shooting color in this stilted studio setting, a shoot that came close to feeling like what he could conjure live, in black and white.  He was really proud. Another image from this shoot ran in “Not Fade Away,” but rather than staring a hole through the lens, Carlos is looking up to his right.  The shot has a faraway feel and is unusual in that Jim was always, always about eye contact. This one is quieter and, really, I think I like it just a bit better.  Go figure.

Jim’s caption reads: “Carlos Santana in my friend’s studio in San Francisco, 1988.  I go back a long way with Carlos, to the year 1965.  I remember I was sitting in jail on a drug charge, and the bail bondsman who helped me get out was also the road manager for the Santana Blues Band.  So he asked me to do him a favor and take a picture of the band. Since then I’ve done a couple of album covers, a lot of magazine work, and a very famous sequence of Carlos in his first recording sessions. I love the guy, and he plays the guitar like nobody else.” If you want to understand what Jim saw and heard in 1965 to make him stick with this guy through thick and thin, check out this video of “Soul Sacrifice,” the Santana band’s breakout moment at Woodstock in 1969, the day the world caught up with Jim's heroic eyes.  Look close and you might see a certain photographer in the background, too. And, what better way to wrap up all this wonderful Santana-ness, than with  a quote from the man himself:

“Realize that when you get older, you either get senile or become gracious.  There’s no in-between.  You become senile when you think the world short-changed you, or everybody wakes up to screw you.  You become gracious when you realize that you have something the world needs, and people are happy to see you when you come into the room.”

Submitted by m3jimphoto on Thu, 05/17/2012 - 10:44pm

More Carlos Santana: Before the World Knew His Music

“It’s time for people to realize that we are all mixed up inside.  That is why there is so much diversity on my records.  I can relate to so many cultures and I want that to be reflected in my music.”  — Carlos Santana

Today’s blog continues our exploration of Jim’s work capturing the playing and passion of Carlos Santana, a true guitar original who has become synonomous with the early SF scene and who remains a catalyst for the ascendancy of “world music” onto the world’s stage. The passion, spirit and open-mindedness that Carlos brought to his music seemed to be present from the first time he picked up an instrument at age 5.  He started on violin at the urging of his father, Jose, who was a renowned Mariachi violinist in Mexico, but Carlos gravitated to the guitar at 8 years old and never looked back.

As a musician who is widely credited with popularizing “world music,” it seems that Carlos always had big ears and the heart to match, you can hear it in his earliest work and you can see it in the joy captured in Jim’s photos that we have unearthed for you ... most of them published here for the first time. This quote offers a taste of Carlos’ world view, then and now:  “The ’60s were a leap in human consciousness.  Mahatma Gandhi, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Che Guevara, Mother Teresa, they led a revolution of conscience.  The Beatles, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix created revolution and evolution themes.  The music was like Dalí, with many colors and revolutionary ways.  The youth of today must go there to find themselves.”

So how did Carlos Santana come to this realization?  What were the early influences and struggles that helped form his mind, heart, music and world view?  Here's a decent recap from his wikipedia page: “In San Francisco, [Carlos] got the chance to see his idols, most notably B.B. King, perform live.  He was also introduced to a variety of new musical influences, including jazz and folk music, and witnessed the growing hippie movement centered in San Francisco in the 1960s. “After several years spent working as a dishwasher in a diner and busking for spare change, Santana decided to become a full-time musician.  In 1966, he gained prominence by a series of accidental events all happening on the same day.  Santana was a frequent spectator at Bill Graham’s Fillmore West.  During a Sunday matinee show, Paul Butterfield was slated to perform there but was unable to do so as a result of being intoxicated.  Bill Graham assembled an impromptu band of musicians he knew primarily through his connections with the Grateful Dead, Butterfield’s own band and Jefferson Airplane, but he had not yet picked all of the guitarists at the time.  Santana’s manager, Stan Marcum, immediately suggested to Graham that Santana join the impromptu band and Graham assented.

“During the jam session, Santana’s guitar playing and solo gained the notice of both the audience and Graham. During the same year, Santana formed the Santana Blues Band, with fellow street musicians, David Brown and Gregg Rolie (bassist and keyboard player, respectively). “With their highly original blend of Latin-infused rock, jazz, blues, salsa, and African rhythms, the band (which quickly adopted their frontman's name, Santana) gained an immediate following on the San Francisco club circuit. The band’s early success, capped off by a memorable performance at Woodstock in 1969, led to him signing a recording contract with Columbia Records, then run by Clive Davis.”

Carlos the Conscience From Carlos’ official website a nice blurb on his humanitarian side: “The arc of Santana’s performing and recording career is complemented by a lifelong devotion to social activism and humanitarian causes.  The Milagro Foundation, originally established by Carlos Santana and his family in 1998, has granted more than $5 million to non-profit programs supporting underserved children and youth in the areas of arts, education and health.  Milagro means “miracle,” and the image of children as divine miracles of light and hope — gifts to our lives — is the inspiration behind its name.” In our next blog we will take an in-depth look at how Jim captured Carlos’ otherworldly guitar playing, both in the studio and on some of the world’s greatest stages.  Until then, I’ll leave you with one more of Carlos’ apt observations, and one that Jim (not the world's most spiritual man) would certainly be able to agree with, at least in part: “If our history can challenge the next wave of musicians to keep moving and changing, to keep spiritually hungry and horny, that’s what it’s all about.”

Submitted by m3jimphoto on Thu, 05/03/2012 - 10:06pm

Carlos Santana, Supernatural Supernova

For the month of May we’re going to focus on Jim’s relationship, both in front of and behind the camera, with one of the San Francisco music scene’s most enduring stars: Carlos Santana.

Throughout the highs and lows, thicks and thins of life with Jim, there can be no dispute that Carlos always stood by him; a great and loyal friend. I can speak to this directly because I saw it up close and personal.

At the time Jim came into my life (March, 1984) there were VERY few people in general -- and in the music business specifically -- who were interested in seeing Jim make a comeback. In fact, in the timeline of Jim’s life featured on the Bio page of our official website we note that 1979-1986 were “The Lost Years.”

I was lucky enough to meet Carlos during those "lost" times, and he was unfailingly polite and quite sweet actually, with not a drop of ego or pretense where Jim was concerned. I distinctly remember around Christmastime in 1984; it was a really bad time for Jim as he had no money, could barely make rent. The first time I met Carlos, he popped into Jim’s 16th St. apartment to pick up a bunch of prints (I think various Coltrane shots if my memory serves). Carlos planned to give them out as Christmas presents. Jim made it clear to me that Carlos didn’t have to do this, was in fact doing Jim a major favor and how grateful he was to him for it.

That cash kept Jim going through the holidays until he finally started to land some small gigs here and there and slowly crawled his way back into life as a working photographer. And, I guarantee you, it was not the first time Carlos “did him a solid,” as Jim liked to say.

Here’s a bit of a quick view of Santana, courtesy of his wiki page:

“Carlos Augusto Alves Santana (born July 20, 1947) is a Mexican and American rock guitarist. Santana became famous in the late 1960s and early 1970s with his band, Santana, which pioneered rock, salsa and jazz fusion. The band's sound featured his melodic, blues-based guitar lines set against Latin and African rhythms featuring percussion instruments such as timbales and congas not generally heard in rock music. Santana continued to work in these forms over the following decades. He experienced a resurgence of popularity and critical acclaim in the late 1990s. In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine listed Santana at number 15 on their list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. He has won 10 Grammy Awards and 3 Latin Grammy Awards.”

Stay tuned for much more complete coverage of Jim’s work capturing the heart and soul of Carlos Santana in our next blog.

Submitted by m3jimphoto on Thu, 04/19/2012 - 7:43pm

Monterey Jazz Festival, 1963: It's About Family

Today’s blog wraps up our coverage of Jim’s early work covering jazz, specifically as the official photographer of the Monterey Jazz Festival of 1963.  The more I’ve looked at and studied this early work of Jim's, the more I see how he was intent on making connections and creating a sense of intimacy, a feeling of family.  I always chalked his fascination with family up to Jim’s fraught childhood, his black sheep status and how upset he remained throughout his whole life over his lack of siblings. I think that was a big reason why he was always moved so profoundly when presented with the opportunity to document moments of love and bonding that occurred among intimates, strangers and clans alike.  And this lead shot of the Teagarden family is a  wonderful example.

From William Minor’s Monterey Jazz Festival: 40 Years, “1963 is remembered as the year of the emotion-filled reunion of the Teagarden family.  Brothers Jack on trombone, Charlie on trumpet and sister Norma on piano were joined by their mother, Helen, a ragtime pianist who jammed with her ‘children’ on stage.  ‘Considering the entire history of the Monterey Jazz Festival,’ jazz educator Herb Wong says, ‘that still stands as one of the most special events.’  Most writers and fans alike found the reunion to be the Festival’s most touching moment.”

This recollection is from Jim’s lovely book “Jazz”: “I shot Jack Teagarden, his mother, Mama T, his sister, Norma, and his brother, Charlie, backstage at Monterey Jazz Festival 1963.  Jack died shortly after this picture was taken in the early part of ’64, about six months later.  There was a recording called ‘A Hundred Years From Today.’  It was a song that Teagarden had had a big hit with during World War II.  There’s a line, ‘Don’t save your kisses, just give them away,’ and then there’s another line, ‘Who’ll ever know you gave them away a hundred years from today?’  He tells the story at the jazz festival about how, during the war, a soldier in England came up to him and requested that song.”

“I sometimes think people like Jack were just go-betweens," Bobby Hackett (a trumpeter with the Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman bands) told a friend. "The Good Lord said, 'Now you go and show 'em what it is', and he did. I think everybody familiar with Jack Teagarden knows that he was something that happens just once. It won't happen again. Not that way...”.

The Family of Jim

Jim seemed to be constantly prowling for connections to add to his "family of choice," and he knew it when he saw them.  He always told me one of his biggest inspirations was the extraordinary, monumental 503-image exhibition, The Family of Man, put on at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 1955 and curated by Edward Steichen.

Steichen described the exhibition as "a mirror of the essential oneness of mankind throughout the world. Photographs made in all parts of the world, of the gamut of life from birth to death." The essential oneness ... it's a phrase that inspires me to wrap up this series of Monterey Jazz recollections with a rather     important memory from one of Jim’s treasured “family of choice,” Louisa Jane Judge aka “Janie Girl,” whom Jim considered the little sister he always wanted.  It turns out Jane met Jim as a teenager at the Monterey Jazz Festival, probably 1964.  Jane, who is a cultural savant, music lover and generally all-around brilliant person, had gone to check out the fest with family friend SF Chronicle music critic Ralph Gleason and his wife, Jean. “My grandfather knew Ralph quite well and suggested, since I loved music so much, that I go to the festival with the Gleasons.  They took me under their wings and we sat in their box which was very close to the stage.  At some point, Jim noticed me (ed note: Jane is beyond striking, a honey blonde with piercing blue eyes that can see right through a person) and asked if he could take my picture.  I thought it was a little strange, but Ralph said to go ahead, Jim was OK.  So we went out to the Fairgrounds where there were all these oak trees and he had me pose similarly to a shot he had just done of Judy Collins because he said we had the same eyes.

“Jim was just 24 years old or so back then and I was maybe 15, he promised to come visit me in Pasadena where I was living at the time.  I remember he showed me the proofsheets of the shot of me leaning against that Monterey oak tree at the festival.  I was really into photography, Edward Curtis, I loved portraiture, but I was just so young.  I think I said, “Sure, they’re OK.”  And then Jim started showing me all of these 8 x 10 black and whites that he had probably printed himself in his bathroom;  jazz greats like Thelonius Monk that he had been taking over the past few years, a lot from his time in NYC.  They were really, really strong portraits.  And then he asked me, ‘What do you think, should I keep taking photographs?  I looked at him like he was crazy.  Why was he asking me, but then I saw he really needed to know.  So I looked him in the eye and said very simply, ‘Yes, keep taking photographs.’

“And, you know, that was it.  From then on we were family, I was his little sister, Janie Girl.  He would always tell that story about how we met and what I said to him, how I was just a kid, but I could see it so clearly.  I think it meant a lot to him because he could tell I meant it.” And then Jim's sister, who is perhaps the loveliest of all Jim’s blonde, lovely-eyed muses, remembers to add with a laugh and a sigh, “Of course, as the years rolled on I would need to change that sentence a bit to a revised, “James, put the guns away and keep taking photographs.” But, that, as they say, is a story for another day. And so concludes (for now) our look at some of Jim’s most seminal work -- his photojournalism from the Monterey Jazz Festivals of 1960 and 1963 -- where he learned to meld the personal and the professional to uncover new connections and heights in his work ... and his life.

Submitted by m3jimphoto on Thu, 04/05/2012 - 8:04pm

Monterey Jazz Festival 1963, Backstage and Beyond

By 1963 Jim was living in NYC and enjoying one of his most productive periods as a photojournalist, specializing in documenting all genres of entertainers and beyond.  However, the Monterey Jazz Festival of that year managed to lure him back home to Northern California with the prospect of once-again serving as the festival’s official photographer. Jim had been the official photographer at the 1960 festival as well, which I focused on in the these past two blogs:
Monterey Jazz Festival, 1960
More Monterey Jazz Festival, 1960

It seems back in the day the Monterey Jazz Fest organizers were simpatico with Jim’s all-encompassing approach to documenting the festivities ... and it's a good thing because I can practically hear the expletives that Jim would have unleashed with anyone who might have dared to question his need for absolutely unlimited access.

The ability to freely go where he wanted, when he wanted, with whom he wanted was an unfettered status that Jim would continue to demand (with varying results) for the rest of his career and his life.  He was quick to point out to me that the ONLY people who could refuse him were the artists themselves, which almost never happened.  He always looked so proud of that fact; he used to say he felt that earning that level of trust and access were the only testaments to his talent that he would ever really need. And let’s not forget that by 1963 Jim was beginning to make a name for himself in the photography world, his reputation building on his full-frame results, his tenacity and timing, his vision, his knowledge of the importance and historic connections propelling the entertainment industry (including but not limited to music) … as well as his soon-to-be infamous hair-trigger temper.

Philip Elwood, who from 1965 to 2002 covered jazz, blues and all manner of music and nightlife for the SF Examiner initially and then the combo Examiner/Chronicle, wrote the introduction to Jim’s wonderful 2005 book of black and white images, “Jazz” .  He manages to capture the essence of Jim’s approach to shooting jazz artists quite aptly in the following excerpts: “It’s not a coincidence that most of the pictures in this [book] were taken in recording studios, rehearsal halls, backstage areas, festival grounds, or home living rooms.

“Marshall often admits his lifelong enthusiasm for not just getting a ‘how’r ya’ from a performer but, rather, becoming a backstage friend—hanging out with musicians, getting to know them and their colleagues, and often, developing a friendship with their families.  His photos radiate with this informal, friendly intimacy—they are like family snapshots. “To know Jim Marshall and observe him at work, Leica M4 [Editor’s note: or Leica M2 depending on the year] in hand, paraphernalia nearby or dangling from his shoulder, can be both fascinating, unnerving, and occasionally entertaining in itself. “More than once at avarious venues I have seen ushers, burly guards, stage managers, and concert impresarios—all with (perhaps) an even shorter fuse than the tempestuous Marshall—attempt to remove Jim from the stage.  Of course, these efforts are most often unsuccessful; Jim never just stands by the stage-lip waiting for shots to appear.” In today’s post, I’ve decided to present Jim’s shots from everywhere but the stage or its lip at the Monterey Jazz Festival of 1963.  Next time we will focus on the the music played and perhaps a bit more from around the edges.  Enjoy!

Submitted by m3jimphoto on Thu, 03/22/2012 - 10:47pm

More Monterey Jazz Festival, 1960

“You’ve got to find a way of saying it without saying it.” – Duke Ellington Jim’s output from his initial foray to the Monterey Jazz Festival in 1960 was so prolific we needed to split it into two batches, leaving some of the heavier hitters and headliners for this week’s blog. And, at the time, who was heavier than Duke Ellington? Always a serious touring road warrior Ellington, one of the most important and influential musicians of the 20th century, was riding the crest of a great popular wave in a variety of media.  For instance, in 1959 he won three Grammys for his soundtrack to Otto Preminger’s “Anatomy of a Murder,” and two years later he was nominated for an Oscar for his work on the film “Paris Blues.”

Just how heavy the Duke was has been captured in a sequential album release, “At The 1960 Monterey Jazz Festival, Part 1 and “At The 1960 Monterey Jazz Festival, Part 2,” which are definitely worth checking out.  Here’s a bit from the liner notes by jazz journalist Ken Dryden to explain why: “This CD of Duke Ellington at the 1960 Monterey Jazz Festival is notable for several reasons ... Lambert, Hendricks & Ross introduce the main act with a quick version of the spiritual ‘Deep River,’ followed by ‘Take the “A” Train.’  Ellington opens his set with a snappy and long interpretation of ‘Perdido,’ which sounds very different from his typical approach.  He also previews two numbers from his reinterpretation of ‘The Nutcracker Suite,’ which was to be released the following week.  ‘Suite Thursday’ receives its premiere during this concert, as it was commissioned especially for this occasion.

“The sound is so intimate it feels like having a seat among the musicians, while the crowd is respectfully quiet.  The historic nature of this concert easily overcomes the minor audio shortcomings, most of which are likely due to the age of the tapes by the time they were located and prepared for release.” And then there was the burgeoning sax great John Coltrane, who became a good friend to Jim and the subject of some of Jim’s greatest work, certainly in the jazz realm (see earlier blog:  “Jim, John Coltrane and President Obama” .

According to the book “John Coltrane: His Life and Music” by Lewis Porter, sadly there are no known tapes of Coltrane’s set at Monterey Jazz in 1960, or so said legendary jazz producer Orrin Keepnews. I think it's safe to assume Coltrane blew the crowd away with his burgeoning “sheets of sound” and overall passionate, soulful intensity, especially with brilliant jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery in his band that night.  In fact, after a world-beating run as a sideman with Miles Davis and the like, Coltrane had formally launched his solo career as a band leader earlier that year at the age of 30.

Saying It Without Saying It

As mentioned above, Lambert, Hendricks & Ross were also on the bill, introing for Ellington.  The trio of Dave Lambert, Jon Hendricks and Annie Ross, all prodigious singers in their own right, joined forces in 1957 and really caught fire when they signed with Columbia two years later.

The group’s recording of “High Flying” won a Grammy Award for Best Performance by a Vocal Group in 1962, which also happened to be the year that Annie Ross left the group.  Lambert, Hendricks & Ross were voted Best Vocal Group in the “Down Beat” Readers Poll from 1959 to 1963. And, to my practiced eye, I think Jim might have had a bit of a crush on Annie, just something about the way she lit up his lens and jumps off a lot of these proof sheets.  And it’s like Duke said, Jim wouldn’t necessarily admit that he was smitten, but he’d definitely find a way to use that bare bones 50mm lens and Leica M2 to say it without sayin’ it.  I loved that about him. Stay tuned for more Monterey Jazz as we plan to focus on his work from the 1963 festival next.

Submitted by m3jimphoto on Thu, 03/08/2012 - 9:39pm

Monterey Jazz Festival, 1960

There is so much of Jim’s early work to love and find inspiring, but for me the real power and passion lies in the body of work he created in the early ’60s documenting the jazz greats, their supporting casts, adoring fans and even the tools of their trade. That’s why we’ve decided to focus on his exemplary work capturing the Monterey Jazz Festival in its nascent days, specifically his body of work from the 1960 and 1963 festivals, which bookended his intensely productive sojourn in New York City.  And a special thanks to Kitty Margolis, SF-based virtuoso jazz vocalist, who provided invaluable assistance in identifying the early greats that will be featured in these blogs.

In my mind’s eye I can see corduroy-coated, desert boot-wearing Jim prowling around the fog-shrouded, oak-studded Monterey Fairgrounds with his Leica M2 and his 50mm lens in 1960, a relative nobody in the photography world at the time. It was so early in his career, Jim is fresh out of the Air Force and I’m quite sure he didn’t have but a few fixed lens and a couple of camera bodies, if that; most likely he was relying on his 50mm lens, wide open and Tri X film to be pushed later in the darkroom.

I seem to remember Jim telling me he preferred the “normal lens” because it came closest to capturing what you saw with your own eyes. Another thing about Jim’s vision that just jumps out at you studying this work: He is shooting full frame, editing through the lens in real time, in the moment with no lighting equipment and no net. In the age of digital everything all the time and the ability to correct, excuse me, “enhance” even the most egregious of errors via PhotoShop magic and the like, it staggers my mind to think that Jim never even CROPPED a shot. He used to say, “It’s either in the negative or it’s not.”

A Jazz DJ’s Dream

The Monterey Jazz Festival was the brainstorm of Jimmy Lyons, a prominent jazz radio broadcaster in San Francisco, and pioneered the use of the 20-acre Monterey Fairgrounds as a major musical venue, starting on October 3, 1958.  One of the longest consecutively running jazz festivals, this year’s Monterey Jazz will mark the 55th anniversary of the festival, now held on the third weekend in September. In 1997, the 40th anniversay was heralded with the release of a book written by jazz historian William Minor, Monterey Jazz Festival: Forty Legendary Years as well as a three-disc set by the same name of musical highlights spanning those four decades.

Here’s an excerpt from the CD set’s liner notes penned by the former mayor of Carmel, big jazz buff, festival board member and, oh yeah, fairly successful “movie guy,” Clint Eastwood. These notes do a good job of capturing the mood, music and improvisational spirit that Jim must have experienced and found equally inspiring: “I attended the first Monterey Jazz Festival; it was a great event. There was a lot of fog, and old-time airplanes were flying overhead, but it was a lot of fun and everybody had a good time. One of the planes came down out of the fog just as Dave Brubeck was in the middle of a solo. He was jamming away and the audience wondered what he’d do as that plane zoomed overhead. He just broke right into ‘Off We Go Into The Wild Blue Yonder’ -- bang, and then went back to what he was playing. The audience laughed and went with it -- he had them in the palm of his hand. “I came back to the Festival many times through the years. When I moved back to Monterey part-time during the ’60s, it was one of the big events for us, something we always looked forward to. I brought my son, Kyle, to the Festival when he was young, and now he’s performed there himself several times, which makes us both very proud. “Jazz was an important factor in 'Play Misty For Me,' the first movie I directed: We filmed several scenes at the Festival. We shot part of “Misty” in the main arena using a hand-held camera and I had to learn to improvise.

“Improvisation as a filmmaker is analogous to improvisation as a musician. I think in some ways my work has helped deepen my appreciation of this type of music. I’ve also done several jazz documentaries, including one on Thelonious Monk, whom I saw at Monterey. I liked his bold style and seeing him perform at the Festival had a strong effect on me. “Jazz is not only bluesy and forlorn - it also has humor and an upbeat, happy thing about itself. It reflects the independence of the people who were willing to spend their lives playing their music.” And make no mistake, back in the day Jim was there with every fiber of his being, eyes wide open, willing to spend his life to capture the story for all of those not fortunate enough to be there with him.

Stay tuned for more of Jim’s wonderful work from early Monterey Jazz Fests in upcoming blogs.

Pages