Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 3 Share on Twitter 1 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
Exclusive to OpEdNews:
Life Arts    H4'ed 5/15/14

Five Decades of Jazz Supernovas: an Intimate Look Backstage

By       (Page 1 of 7 pages) (View How Many People Read This)   1 comment, 2 series
Author 92808
Message Vicki Leon

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
Kris' Lens: Bill King
(Image by c. Kris King, used with permission)
  Details   DMCA

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.


Copyrighted Image? DMCA

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.


Copyrighted Image? DMCA

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:


Copyrighted Image? DMCA

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.

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  |  7

 

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

Vicki Leon Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

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...)
 
Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

STAY IN THE KNOW
If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
Name
Email
   (Opens new browser window)
 

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

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

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

Melodies for the Gladiatrix: Uppity Women in the Roman Arena

Haunted by the Evil Eye? Grab the nearest phallus!

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

Sassy Femmes Still Rock the New Mexico Art World

To View Comments or Join the Conversation: