Tuesday, November 13, 2007

All That Jazz......

Last weekend I had the opportunity to shoot part of the Arizona Classic Jazz Festival, sponsored by the Arizona Classic Jazz Society held at the San Marcos Golf Resort in Chandler, Arizona. If I could sum it up in just two words -- Great Fun!

The whole experience was fantastic! Live bands played Jazz standards while young and old alike jammed the dance floor to trot out some East Coast and West Coast Swing as well as some Lindy Hop. I was there at the invitation of the Arizona Swing Network to take photos of the dancers (well, the trumpet player in me insisted on getting some shots of the musicians too).

You know that commercial where the janitor spills his coffee on the control room panel and blacks out a major city? He saves the day by hitting a button and the Energizer Bunny is plugged into the grid and all the lights come back on. Let me tell you, the bunny has nothing in terms of energy production on this crowd. They wore me out just watching. Or maybe I wore myself out running around the dance floor and stage holding a heavy camera over my head with one hand and a flash in the other. Either way, there was a lot of energy being expended and it was definitely not limited to my battery packs.

Some of the bands I was able to hear (and shoot) included: Wally's Warehouse Waifs; Pieter Meijers Quartet; and The 51st Eight who closed out the night. As their set drew to an end the band kept growing as musicians from the other bands sat in, either replacing or doubling with the existing members. We had multiple trumpets, clarinets, saxaphones, guitars and even four hands on the piano. Sweet!

Posters around the main ballroom (yeah, this thing was going on in multiple venues at the San Marcos) were supplied by cartoonist Bill Keane, a Scottsdale resident and the creator of The Family Circus. I think I read somewhere that he's a big jazz fan, but I saw him once and he didn't look all that big to me......

I would really love to do this again. What I'd like to do between now and then is shoot the dancers in a more controlled setting. There was one couple doing aerials but they were across the dance floor and other couples were getting in between them and my camera. What would really be great is to do a shoot with everyone in period costumes. That'd be the cat's pajamas..........

Just click the links to see more photos of the musicians and dancers.

Anyone wanting prints or larger files can use the contact link on BenjPhoto.com to send me an email.

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