Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! 1 Share on Reddit 1 Share on StumbleUpon 1 Tell A Friend 1 (4 Shares)  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites View Article Stats   1 comment

Exclusive to OpEdNews:
Life Arts

Five Decades of Jazz Supernovas: an Intimate Look Backstage

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 4 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

Must Read 2   Well Said 2   Inspiring 2  
View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H4 5/14/14

An award-winning yet mysteriously modest musical whirlwind, Bill King is one lucky dude. He has photographed, jammed and jazzed it up with a galaxy of superstars, from Aretha Franklin to Herbie Hancock, Diana Krall to Dave Brubeck, from the Rolling Stones to Willie Nelson. These stars and a constellation more are the subjects of his new book, called In Concert! Essays, Images, and Interviews. ( Blurb Pub., 2014)


Kris' Lens: Bill King
(image by c. Kris King, used with permission)


As a talented youngster, he had the good fortune to study piano with Eva Smith, keyboardist for the legendary W.C. Handy. At 16, this lanky teen from Indiana won a scholarship to Oscar Peterson's prestigious School of Contemporary Music in Canada. After his jazz baptism that summer, he began to compose songs, arrange music, and transcribe hits for his first band, one he put together -- all while still a minor.


Bill's Lens: Oscar Peterson
(image by c. Bill King, used with permission)


As he grew up, Bill also became the mentor and creative instigator for a dizzying number of bands and vocalists in the U.S., Canada, and the Caribbean, all while adding photographer, broadcaster, and music producer to his own resume. In fact, King seems to have spent much of the last 50 years making other musicians look and sound good.


Bill's Lens: Diana Krall at Oscar Peterson's 80th Birthday Celebration
(image by c. Bill King, used with permission)

With the release of In Concert! his visceral prose lets us feel the gritty reality of the music world he knows so well -- and its addictive hold on performers. Here's his take on Willie Nelson:


Bill's Lens: Willie Nelson
(image by c. Bill King, used with permission)


Beyond the rough stuff of aging, Nelson is purity. The voice of Texas. The sunbelt. There are chunks of crushed gravel in his throat from years of inhaling the dust and broken rocks from the side roads of forgotten America. There is plenty of sorrow in there. Drinks that stink and boil in the stomach. One-nighters, most of them forgettable.

If you've ever hitchhiked the southwest, you too remember the close association with the ground beneath your feet, the air that stings and cools, the once-living things that rot in the road, and those that run alongside the endless highways, dodging death. Occasionally, you spot the pumping arm of a distant oil rig, a black tool working to its own regulated beat.

This is Willie's world. And it's transparent. My lens brings him closer, the snap of the shutter freezing June 20, 2013, for me. From the first grinding chords and splintered blue strains, Nelson is pure Nelson: "You Were Always on My Mind." Then a succession of short takes, hits housed in medley form: three songs and seven mini-reminders of the tunes that brought him fame and lasting employment.

Much like B.B. King, the tour bus will be home for him until time puts an end to the long drive. You may wonder why players of this acclaim still sequester themselves into a minimal space of square feet. Why they still sleep to the soundtrack of wheels a-spinning. Then you realize that the Willie Nelsons were born in a time of six-nighters, of back-slapping music lovers at every small stopover, of real people who love you for just singing about them. For just being. It's a human narcotic, more addictive than the jam-packed stadiums. It's a sensation that never lies or lingers past reality.

In his image-studded collection of essays and interviews, King's frank and powerful writing gives us a wealth of poignant insights like these.


Bill's Lens: Aretha Franklin
(image by c. Bill King, used with permission)



Bill's Lens: jazz guitarist Buddy Guy
(image by c. Bill King, used with permission)


Next Page  1  |  2  |  3  |  4

 

Vicki Leon, author of over 35 nonfiction books on women's history, ancient history, and travel, along with pictorial books for younger readers on wildlife and earth's fragile habitats, lives on the California coast but often returns to her favorite (more...)
 

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Early American Torture Porn: How to "Cure" a Witchy Woman

Melodies for the Gladiatrix: Uppity Women in the Roman Arena

Five Decades of Jazz Supernovas: an Intimate Look Backstage

Cleopatra One-Upped! Nubian Queen Trounced Romans, Evaded Taxes

Mother's Day? Forget Chocolate - Give Her Feminist Food for Thought

Inked Amazons: Passionate Warrior Women Who Loved Cannabis, Battle-axes, Booty & Bling

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
1 people are discussing this page, with 1 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

Thanks for the presentation of visual and auditory... by Cynthia Piano on Friday, May 16, 2014 at 8:29:39 AM