I had a few days in London with my partner at the start of the week and caught an awesome gig by The Thing at the Vortex on Monday night. All three musicians played brilliantly but Paal Nilssen-Love playing in a trio seems to give him more space than in a larger band. His drumming was wonderfully inventive. This gig was amongst my favourite of the year.
We also took in quite a few art and photography exhibitions. The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait prize exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery was rather interesting and caused us to spend quite some time discussing what portrait photography actually is. I think that, even if you don’t like all the work in an exhibition, if it makes you think about the content and causes you to spend time discussing it with others then it was a valuable experience.
We also took in an exhibition called Shadow Catchers, Camera – less Photography at the V & A. Some of the work in this was wonderful and quite inspiring though it’s not the sort of work I’m likely to do myself. It’s on until the 20th February and is worth a trip if you are in London and have the time. The Gauguin Exhibition at Tate Modern was packed, even on Tuesday, and worth seeing though I thought it perhaps had too much to take in during one visit. However that may have been because I was beginning to get tired towards the end of the day.
Last night (Saturday) I photographed the soundcheck for Soweto Kinch’s homecoming gig at the end of his national tour to launch his new album called “The New Emancipation”. The soundcheck was longer than many I’ve been at of late and I ended up taking far more images than I would normally. I paid the price today as the post production and editing work took far longer than normal. I’ve photographed Soweto and his various bands on many occasions over the last few years but some of last night’s images are amongst the best. You can see the highlights of what I took by clicking on the photo above and going to my photosite. This was the most enjoyable gig I’ve seen from Soweto. His playing was wonderful especially on two stand out long duets with his drummer Graham Godfrey on a tune called “On the Treadmill” and during the encore. Soweto’s rapping was well integrated into the set and went down well with the audience, quite a few of whom might not have been as aware of rap as some of the younger audience members. Peter Bacon has written a review of the gig on his Jazz Breakfast site which you can find here.
Most Jazz magazines and many Jazz Bloggers are currently publishing their lists of favourite Jazz CD’s of the year. I intend joining this trend before the year is out. However first I will be posting a portfolio of what I think are the best photos I’ve taken all this year. They will go online on my site here next week and I’ll write a few words about them when I post them.