Graham Dechter Quartet at Birch North Park Theatre, 5/11/10

Holly Hoffman’s Jazz in North Park series continued with a group where the leader was youngest member. Graham Dechter is an up-and-coming guitarist who is being mentored by his drummer, Jeff Hamilton . Once again , I was invited to shoot the soundcheck.

Click on a photo to go to the full gallery.

Birch North Park Theatre 50510 © Michael Klayman-003

Graham is just 23 years old. During his introduction, Holly said that she was happy she was able to book him this year because in a couple years, she won’t be able to afford him- exactly like what happened with Diana Krall.

Birch North Park Theatre 50510 © Michael Klayman-004

Besides Graham and Jeff, bassist John Clayton and pianist Tamir Hendelman are jazz veterans too. John and Jeff are the founders of the famous Clayton Hamilton Orchestra .

Birch North Park Theatre 50510 © Michael Klayman-017

Birch North Park Theatre 50510 © Michael Klayman-007

Graham plays at a level well beyond his years, and I think that he’s got the makings of being a household name later. Like a new bottle of wine, it will be a few years before he matures into something truly remarkable, but he’s keeping good company so I’m sure he’ll do it.

Birch North Park Theatre 50510 © Michael Klayman-022

Birch North Park Theatre 50510 © Michael Klayman-019

After the soundcheck, I screwed up the courage to go up to Jeff Hamilton and ask him to sign one of the very first vinyl records I ever bought, which he recorded in Japan as part of the Ray Brown Trio. He also gave me his signature drumsticks that he used for the soundcheck. All the years I’ve spent listening to this album, it never occurred to me that I might someday get a chance to meet him.

Jeff told me a story about how they were rehearsing for this concert in Ray Brown’s hotel room, and Jeff was playing on a phone book since he couldn’t set up his drums. Ray told him that he’d be starting off one of the songs. “How should I start it?” asked Jeff. “Just go Bam Bam Bam!” Ray replied. That became the title track.

Birch North Park Theatre 50510 © Michael Klayman-024

This show was touted as a chance to witness the next generation of jazz, but as I looked out at the audience, I didn’t see the next generation of jazz fans. I’m ten years older than Graham and I was still one of the youngest members in the audience. Maybe it has something to do with the higher ticket prices that are needed to bring in a band at this level, but I wish that more younger people had a chance to hear this music. Jazz is a thoroughly modern and evolving music which can only continue if it can attract new fans.

Maybe this particular jazz series isn’t the right one to use as an introduction to the next generation, but there are plenty of chances to see this art form in San Diego for free or very cheap. If you need some ideas about where to go and who to see, just ask me! I’d love to see more of the Casbah crowd checking out Dizzy’s, and vice versa.

Fever Sleeves, By Sunlight, Manuok at Soda Bar, 5/21/10

I know it’s been a little while, but I was happy to come to a show where I was excited to shoot a full bill again. I met Scott Mercado last summer at the last By Sunlight/Fever Sleeves show, but it took almost a year before I had a chance to get Manuok in front of my lens.

As always, click on a photo to go to the full gallery for each band.

Manuok at Soda Bar 52110 © Michael Klayman-001

I didn’t know that Manuok was a full band, and just assumed that it was Scott’s solo project. He was quite nice when I said hi to him, and even remembered meeting me last year.

Manuok at Soda Bar 52110 © Michael Klayman-010

I found myself grooving to the sad songs which had an Americana twist to them, making me feel like trading in my beer for a whiskey. Scott complimented his bass player in between songs, so he gets points for that. And for giving me a free CD and T-shirt.

Manuok at Soda Bar 52110 © Michael Klayman-012

Manuok at Soda Bar 52110 © Michael Klayman-003

Manuok at Soda Bar 52110 © Michael Klayman-008

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I think I’ve seen By Sunlight every time they’ve come down to San Diego in the past two years. I’m a huge fan of their album, and they had a new Split 7″ with Silian Rail for me! Since I’ve shot them several times already, including at the Soda Bar, I used my Ultra-Wide-Angle lens exclusively for a different, if slightly murky look.

By Sunlight at Soda Bar 52110 © Michael Klayman-005

This is a very comforting and consistent band. If you like one song, you will like them all. They always set up in the same positions on stage and don’t pause in between songs. Even the new songs I heard still had a familiar ring to them.

By Sunlight at Soda Bar 52110 © Michael Klayman-007

By Sunlight at Soda Bar 52110 © Michael Klayman-009

I forgot to ask Jack, the bass player,  what book he was reading on this tour. Out of all the touring bands I’ve gotten to know, he seems like the only one I could spend 20 hours a day in a van with. That’s probably why I’ve never been all that keen on touring myself, I like home a little too much and don’t like being cooped up with any, um, fragrant men. 

By Sunlight at Soda Bar 52110 © Michael Klayman-012

By Sunlight at Soda Bar 52110 © Michael Klayman-010

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I’ve shot Fever Sleeves a bunch of times too, so I gave them the same Ultra-Wide treatment just to challenge myself.

Fever Sleeves at Soda Bar 52110 © Michael Klayman-001

Fever Sleeves at Soda Bar 52110 © Michael Klayman-003

Billy, the drummer, just celebrated his 26th birthday. Buy him a shot the next time you see him.

Fever Sleeves at Soda Bar 52110 © Michael Klayman-009

I have an issue with “event” photographers who shoot the people at a show instead of the performers. There’s actually more money in shooting the people at at certain clubs who are there to be seen, but I’ve always thought that if the music is the reason why you’re there, then that’s what you should shoot. Nevertheless, I did pull out my camera after the bands were done for just a couple minutes.

Fever Sleeves at Soda Bar 52110 © Michael Klayman-012 

I shoot Mr Weck so often these days, I should really call this blog “The Lain and the Eyebrow”.

Fever Sleeves at Soda Bar 52110 © Michael Klayman-011

Lauren is Tony’s girlfriend and it’s strange to not see her out at most of the rock shows I go to. She reminds me very much of SNL’s Kristen Wiig, not only for her looks, but also for being gifted with impeccable comedic timing. She might seem a little quiet at first, but she is just so naturally funny it’s hard to not giggle.

Fever Sleeves at Soda Bar 52110 © Michael Klayman-014

San Francisco Trip- Gilroy Garlic Festival, 7/24/09

The timing of our Bay Area trip was so that we could hit the Gilroy Garlic Festival, something that Heather has wanted to do her whole life. We left San Francisco early so that we could get to Gilroy right when it opened. We were the first ones in line.

12 Gilroy Garlic Festival 72409 © Michael Klayman-002

Gilroy is very much a small town and this festival is their big claim to fame.

12 Gilroy Garlic Festival 72409 © Michael Klayman-006

Heather warned me that the whole town smells like Garlic, but I couldn’t actually smell it until we got to the festival grounds. Then it was everywhere. We had a few of the garlic flavored treats, like garlic crab fries:

12 Gilroy Garlic Festival 72409 © Michael Klayman-003

Shrimp Scampi:

12 Gilroy Garlic Festival 72409 © Michael Klayman-008

The garlic ice cream, of course, which was better than it sounds:

12 Gilroy Garlic Festival 72409 © Michael Klayman-009

And a garlic peanut butter cup, which was way worse than it sounds:

12 Gilroy Garlic Festival 72409 © Michael Klayman-013

That ruined our appetite for any more garlic delicacies, and it was only 11am.

12 Gilroy Garlic Festival 72409 © Michael Klayman-020

Other than the food, the people were the most interesting part of the festival.

12 Gilroy Garlic Festival 72409 © Michael Klayman-014

Miss Garlic Queen:

12 Gilroy Garlic Festival 72409 © Michael Klayman-015

12 Gilroy Garlic Festival 72409 © Michael Klayman-005

After the festival, we found a bunch of area wineries that had some pretty views. The wines themselves aren’t all that great, but tastings were free. Our palettes were ruined from all that garlic, so it’s a good thing that the wines there are cheap. We found one place that had a self serve grill, so we cooked up some steaks and shared a bottle while listening to jazz.

12 Gilroy Garlic Festival 72409 © Michael Klayman-022

What a perfect ending to our summer vacation.

12 Gilroy Garlic Festival 72409 © Michael Klayman-023

Mark Dresser, Bert Turetzky, Tatsuya Nakatani at The Loft, 5/17/10

The Loft on UCSD’s campus has been putting on some great shows lately. I missed Charlie Hunter’s appearance a couple weeks ago, but this night had two bass masters (and UCSD faculty) playing together. Mark Dresser and Bert Turetzky were joined by Japanese percussion extraordinaire Tatsuya Nakatani for a night of Bowed Basses and Gongs.

As always, you can get to the full gallery by clicking on a photo.

Mark Dresser Bert Turetzky Tatsuya Nakatani at Loft 51710 © Michael Klayman-017

This was not a night of standards and originals. Once the music started with a few minutes of bowing the edge of a gong, it didn’t stop.

Mark Dresser Bert Turetzky Tatsuya Nakatani at Loft 51710 © Michael Klayman-004

Tatsuya didn’t play with drumsticks so much as he banged objects against the drumkit and bowed cymbals. He coaxed many different sounds out from his array of bowls and trinkets.

Mark Dresser Bert Turetzky Tatsuya Nakatani at Loft 51710 © Michael Klayman-009

I’ve always thought of cymbals as being able to create only high-frequency tones, but when he bowed the edges of the bigger gongs, they produced very clear bass notes- not something you would ever imagine could come from a thin sheet of metal.

Mark Dresser Bert Turetzky Tatsuya Nakatani at Loft 51710 © Michael Klayman-010

Mark Dresser set up on one side and played two upright basses, one being a five-string!

Mark Dresser Bert Turetzky Tatsuya Nakatani at Loft 51710 © Michael Klayman-015

Bert Turetzky bowed and plucked his way through the free form experiments too.

Mark Dresser Bert Turetzky Tatsuya Nakatani at Loft 51710 © Michael Klayman-026

A lot of bowing happened on the underside of the bridge, along with percussive effects like shaking the bow in between strings.

Mark Dresser Bert Turetzky Tatsuya Nakatani at Loft 51710 © Michael Klayman-024

This was meditative and challenging music. In the hands of lesser talents, it would have been grating on the ears. That’s not to say it didn’t have its difficult moments, but performances like this show just how far you can stretch music.

San Francisco Trip- Museums, 7/22/09

Hey, remember last month when I said that I was going to catch up on the photos from last summer’s San Francisco trip? Yeah, me neither, apparently. Anyway…

We spent a day walking around the city and hitting some of the museums. My favorite was the SF Aquarium.

9 San Francisco Museums 72209 © Michael Klayman-006

9 San Francisco Museums 72209 © Michael Klayman-008

The crocodiles are great for creepy looking shots.

9 San Francisco Museums 72209 © Michael Klayman-003

9 San Francisco Museums 72209 © Michael Klayman-004

But the really scary moment was when Heather got attacked by an octopus.

9 San Francisco Museums 72209 © Michael Klayman-005

9 San Francisco Museums 72209 © Michael Klayman-013

After the aquarium, we explored the Japanese garden area and shared some tea.

9 San Francisco Museums 72209 © Michael Klayman-018

9 San Francisco Museums 72209 © Michael Klayman-020

9 San Francisco Museums 72209 © Michael Klayman-023

9 San Francisco Museums 72209 © Michael Klayman-025

9 San Francisco Museums 72209 © Michael Klayman-026

The Long and Short of It, Boyscout, Death Eaters at the Casbah, 5/8/10

Heather went Vegas with friends last weekend, so I thought I might be able to get into some drunken debauchery myself at the Casbah, if three beers over the course of five hours counts.

I shot Death Eaters last year at the Belly Up but wasn’t all that happy with my shots, so  I wanted to give them something better this time.

Death Eaters at Casbah 50810 © Michael Klayman-003

I went for a high vibrance, low saturation look which seemed to fit them.

Death Eaters at Casbah 50810 © Michael Klayman-006

Death Eaters at Casbah 50810 © Michael Klayman-008

Death Eaters at Casbah 50810 © Michael Klayman-010

They played the Red Dress song, so I was happy.

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I wasn’t going to shoot Boyscout again, but when they put on the matching white uniforms for Yacht Rock night, I couldn’t resist.

Boyscout at Casbah 50810 © Michael Klayman-001

They’re packing dance floors now, so I could only shoot from my favorite spot. It gave me the perfect place to shoot their horn section.

Boyscout at Casbah 50810 © Michael Klayman-009

Other than that, just the guitarists…

Boyscout at Casbah 50810 © Michael Klayman-005

Boyscout at Casbah 50810 © Michael Klayman-008

Boyscout at Casbah 50810 © Michael Klayman-012

Sean from Firethorn and I were talking after their set, and decided that Boyscout needs to add both of us as bassists so that they can complete the double-trio configuration and then they will be properly equipped to dominate the world.

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During that same conversation, Natalie and I were talking about how great a subject The Long and Short of It are with Ben being such an enthusiastic performer, but the perfect shot of him always proves to be elusive.

Long and Short of It at Casbah 50810 © Michael Klayman-003

Long and Short of It at Casbah 50810 © Michael Klayman-005

Long and Short of It at Casbah 50810 © Michael Klayman-011

They came out in cloaks to tie in with their videos, so I tried really hard to finally get that shot. Ben, give me a countdown to what I think is your definitive shot.

Long and Short of It at Casbah 50810 © Michael Klayman-009

Long and Short of It at Casbah 50810 © Michael Klayman-008

Long and Short of It at Casbah 50810 © Michael Klayman-007

Ready?

Long and Short of It at Casbah 50810 © Michael Klayman-002

That’s it. I can’t do any better.

Travis Daudert Graduate Recital at SDSU, 5/8/10

Travis Daudert invited me to shoot his graduate recital over the weekend. This wasn’t a gig so much, it was more of a thesis defense. For Travis, this is a necessary step in obtaining his Master’s Degree in Jazz Studies.

Travis Daudert Graduate Recital at SDSU 50810 © Michael Klayman-002

The first set was all standards, and then the second set had a few of his original compositions.

Travis Daudert Graduate Recital at SDSU 50810 © Michael Klayman-009

Travis shifted the players in and out for every tune, in order to best showcase his composing, soloing, and arranging chops.

Travis Daudert Graduate Recital at SDSU 50810 © Michael Klayman-023

Travis Daudert Graduate Recital at SDSU 50810 © Michael Klayman-028

Travis Daudert Graduate Recital at SDSU 50810 © Michael Klayman-016

Travis Daudert Graduate Recital at SDSU 50810 © Michael Klayman-036

Travis Daudert Graduate Recital at SDSU 50810 © Michael Klayman-030

Travis Daudert Graduate Recital at SDSU 50810 © Michael Klayman-007

Travis Daudert Graduate Recital at SDSU 50810 © Michael Klayman-026

Travis Daudert Graduate Recital at SDSU 50810 © Michael Klayman-033

Congratulations Travis! If it were up to me, I’d give you an “A”.

Travis Daudert Graduate Recital at SDSU 50810 © Michael Klayman-020

Red Fox Tails at Jay Reilly Studio, 4/30/10

A little over a year ago, I decided to quit my band in order to focus my efforts on photography. That band was Illuminatus Trio , with my friends Felipe and Ron. They have a new bass player now, Jay Reilly, who happens to be a very talented lifestyle photographer . The band is now called Red Fox Tails , and they just had their first show at Jay’s photo studio in Oceanside.

Red Fox Tails at Jay Reilly Studio 43010 © Michael Klayman-006

It’s always a fun time when you’re surrounded by friends, both new and old. Free beer from Basswood Brewing was flowing, and the crowd was made up of lots of photographers, artists, and lovely ladies.

Red Fox Tails at Jay Reilly Studio 43010 © Michael Klayman-029

The cute girls weren’t the only ones radiating beauty, the light show was crazy too!

Red Fox Tails at Jay Reilly Studio 43010 © Michael Klayman-027

I had fun playing around with the shadows.

Red Fox Tails at Jay Reilly Studio 43010 © Michael Klayman-021

Red Fox Tails at Jay Reilly Studio 43010 © Michael Klayman-019

While flipping through some of his photo books, I noticed that Jay likes to cut off the top half of people’s heads for effect, so I did the same for him.

Red Fox Tails at Jay Reilly Studio 43010 © Michael Klayman-018

Red Fox Tails at Jay Reilly Studio 43010 © Michael Klayman-026

They play a few of our old songs, but they revamped them into loungy tunes, instead of the jazzy versions that I used to do. It’s a much better fit for them, especially Ron the drummer who brought his N’awlins swing with him when he moved out here a few years ago.

Red Fox Tails at Jay Reilly Studio 43010 © Michael Klayman-013

If anybody needs a party band, hire the Red Fox Tails. Swing with a smile!

Red Fox Tails at Jay Reilly Studio 43010 © Michael Klayman-008