Friday, November 13, 2009

Definitely STILL LIFE at the STAX MUSEUM

This past Sunday I returned from Memphis, humbled and my heart filled by the great response we had at the opening for "STILL LIFE IN SOUL: Contemporary Music Photography by Jacob Blickenstaff" at the Stax Museum of American Soul Music.

On Friday, November 6th, the Stax Museum combined a party for members and former artists with the reception for the show, it was a beautiful evening. Former Stax president and now head of the Memphis Music Foundation, Al Bell, gave me, the Stax alumni in the room and the Stax Music Academy heartfelt introductions. With the talented music academy backing, Eddie Floyd was coaxed to sing his soul mega-hit "Knock on Wood", followed by Harvey Scales performing "I Can't Turn You Loose" and then William Bell with his masterful "You Don't Miss Your Water".

Eddie Floyd

Harvey Scales

William Bell

The vibe in the room was amazing, and was truly felt by everyone. It was a shared moment- between the young and the old, the music makers and the music lovers, the many who made contributions to Stax and the many who lovingly preserve its legacy. It was a very proud moment for me to see that my work added to that connection. The experience was a strong reminder that I've been on the right track with my instincts all this time and a great push forward.

We had many honored guests including Al Bell, Eddie Floyd, William Bell, Harvey Scales, James Alexander of the Bar Kays, J Blackfoot of the Soul Children, Bettye Crutcher, Willie Hall, Deannie Parker, Curtis Johnson and Sam Jones of the Astors, Teenie and Charles Hodges of the Hi Rhythm Section, Jody Stephens of Big Star, and William Brown (of the Mad Lads and acclaimed producer/engineer) along with many others.

click here for a photo gallery of the exhibit

To top it all off, we got some great press in Memphis as well. On the Thursday before the show, I was interviewed on WREG's 'Live at 9' and managed not to embarrass myself.

I was also honored that the Commercial Appeal ran a cover story in their weekend calendar. You can read the great piece by Bob Mehr here.

Thank you Stax Museum (especially Tim Sampson), Memphis, Ponderosa Stomp, Dig Deeper, Daptone, and all my friends and family that support me and my work.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

STILL LIFE IN SOUL opening at Stax Museum in Memphis this Friday!

It's almost here! Friday night we are having a special event at the Stax Museum with music by the Stax Academy, special guest appearances by Stax alumni (Al Bell, Eddie Floyd, William Bell, Harvey Scales expected), food and drink and a first look at the exhibit.

7-10 PM
free for museum members, $20 at the door for non-members.

Stax Museum of American Soul Music.
926 E. McLemore Ave, Memphis TN.

Memberships start at $50, really worth it to support this great organization.

official info page on the Stax website here

We've had a great response so far, keep your eyes open for articles in the Memphis Commercial Appeal and the Memphis Flyer. I really hope that this show can add something to the growing interest soul music's past and future. - J

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


This is an official announcement of my upcoming photography show at the Stax Museum in Memphis, opening November 6th. I couldn't be more excited. To my knowledge this is the first show of its kind to shine a broad light on the resurgence of soul music. I hope that the show show serves to legitimize what's been going on and give it another push forward.

You can download an Electronic Press Kit about the show here

Stax Museum info page

Facebook Event page

from the press release:

MEMPHIS, TN - The Stax Museum of American Soul Music announces a new exhibition, “STILL LIFE IN SOUL,” opening November 6th, 2009. The exhibit explores the current life, activity, and resurgence in popularity of soul music through portrait, performance, and documentary photography made since 2005 by music photographer Jacob Blickenstaff.

Soul music was a nuanced, emotional, and energetic idiom that reached a worldwide audience at its height in the 1960s but then virtually disappeared by the end of the 1970s. After subsequent decades of disco, hip-hop, rap, and modern R&B – much of which covered and sampled original soul music classics from Stax Records and other labels – the roots of authentic soul are sprouting again with revived careers of veteran artists, dynamic new acts, successful concerts and festivals, reissue projects, and soul-driven independent labels.

Artists represented in the 40 photos in the exhibit include Bettye LaVette, Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, Lee Fields & the Expressions, Barbara Lynn, Maxine Brown, Roscoe Robinson, Harvey Scales, Candi Staton, Sir Lattimore Brown, Otis Clay, William Bell, Eddie Floyd, Skip Pitts, Ben Cauley, Mighty Hannibal, John Gary Williams (of the Mad Lads), and many others. The work chronicles performances at The Ponderosa Stomp, Lincoln Center, Dig Deeper, and the Brooklyn Soul Festival, as well as recording sessions at Daptone Studios. Many performances were backed by contemporary soul bands the Bo-Keys, The Sweet Divines, and Eli Reed and the True Loves.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

26th Roots of American Music Festival at Lincoln Center

Closing out the Lincoln Center Out of Doors Festival was the 2-day 26th Annual Roots of American Music program which presented a great and varied spread of roots related artists.

I went to photograph on my own and was particularly excited to see the re-formed Texas Tornadoes with original members (and legends) Flaco Jimenez and Augie Meyers - led by Doug Sahm's son Shawn, who does a great honor to his father's music and is a heck of a rock 'n roller himself.

Other artists in the photos include Ramblin' Jack Elliot, the Holmes Brothers, Lizz Wright, Allen Toussaint (all day one) plus the BRC Orchestra, the Louisiana Renegades, and a great lineup for the 'Mazel Tov, Mis Amigos' project on day 2.

Here is a slide show of some of the highlights.

Much praise to my friends at Lincoln Center who worked so hard to produce a wonderful season.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Brooklyn Soul Festival in Time Out New York

Kudos to my friends at Dig Deeper and Eli Reed for putting together the great 'Brooklyn Soul Festival' starting tonight at the Bell House in Brooklyn. These guys have been deservedly picking up some good press. We were able to work together to get this portrait of Otis Clay to run half page in Time Out New York with a lengthy profile of the event. Good Event + Good Promotion + Good Photography = success!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Tanya Tagaq Stew & Heidi @ Lincoln Center

Just a few photos to cure the Summertime Blues. From the Lincoln Center Out of Doors Festival with Inuit phenom Tanya Tagaq and Broadway agent provocateurs Stew and crew (Heidi plus a very talented band.)

Last song was 'Everything's Coming Up Roses' to a disco beat (see dancers at the end of the slideshow)

Disco Stew Doesn't Compromise....

Click for the FULL GALLERY

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Flamin Groovies in AMNY

A little extra buzz with your morning coffee - The Flamin Groovies were featured in AMNY yesterday. Sign of the Rock 'n Roll Apocalypse?

Don't miss them this week! tonight at Maxwell's and Friday at Southpaw. Devastating!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

WIRE Magazine Byron Coley Ponderosa Stomp Review

Just had a photo published in the UK's WIRE magazine in the July issue. Lead photo in the 'On Location' section with Roy A. Loney and Cyril Jordan of the Flamin' Groovies backed by Brooklyn's own A-Bones. Review penned by the mighty Byron Coley, who wrote for the legendary Forced Exposure zine in the 80's and early 90's and has been busy ever since.

click on the tear sheet to see a much larger, readable version.

Also note:

The Stomp in in NYC @ Lincoln Center on July 16, 17, 19

A-Bones Record release party July 10th
A-Bones with Roy and Cyril July 23rd @ Maxwells
A-Bones with Roy and Cyril July 24rd @ Southpaw

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Tribute to Wardell Quezergue - photo

Another success story of good imagery helping out a good organization: This portrait of Wardell was used in the brochure for Lincoln Center Festival for the show the Ponderosa Stomp Foundation helped curate.

Can't wait for July 19th.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Junior Brown - Beale on Broadway St. Louis

Junior Brown, at St. Louis club Beale On Broadway. A couple shitty red lights and one phenomenal guitar player. Missed him at the Big Apple BBQ, but got a good dose of him that night.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Howard Tate, Lucero @ Big Apple BBQ photos


Leslie and I hit up the Big Apple BBQ Block Party this weekend for some food and music. We were hungry when we got there and then a bit freaked out by the overlapping, chaotic lines for meat, so we shot over to Blue Smoke to eat some Q and have a beer at the bar.

When we got back to the Park we caught Howard Tate with the Divine Soul Rhythm Band and Memphis' Lucero. NYC's own Saron Crenshaw sounded tight and funky but we missed a good part of his set to forage.

Click the link above fo' mo' pictures.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Great Photos + Great PR = Great Coverage

All media is fundamentally visual. Newspapers and the internet are nothing without good images. Images are the hook and the first impression.

Here's a success story about how a good photograph got a tremendous amount of coverage for a corporate client (for a fraction of the cost of an ad buy). Working with Save-A-Lot Food Stores (client) and the PR agency Blick & Staff Communications - who did a ton of calling and pitching - we were able to get a very fun picture of Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert and Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway in multiple placements in Dallas media... including a cool post on the Dallas Observer blog titled 'Best. Photo. Ever.'

(hmm...I wonder if that one would have run without a good photo...)

Best. Picture. Ever
Dallas Observer Blog

Dallas leaders hope opening of East Oak Cliff Save-a-Lot will be a development catalyst
Dallas Morning News

Pictures from Save-A-Lot grand opening
Dallas News City Hall Blog

WFAA TV station website
ABC Affilliate

Editorial: Affordable Groceries for those who need them
Dallas Morning News

get the picture?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The True Adventures of Passion Pit

WAAAY back in March (12 years ago in indie rock time) I saw a band called Passion Pit at an industry thing called SXSW.

They were good, playing in a hot tent in Austin, part of a BrooklynVegan showcase. I was there, I liked them, I photographed them. The rent-a-stage bounced like a trampoline as Michael Angelakos jumped about singing in high falsetto, leading a charge of three keyboard set-ups and assorted samplers. I remember thinking, "this indie keyboard shit isn't all bad I guess." Halfway into the show at the beginning of a song, the drummer (Nate) stopped the proceedings to re-jig a buggy laptop. A couple more bad starts and Nate just about turned green, Ayad and Jeff cajoled him to continue without it, and it sounded fine. Michael, standing on top of his keyboard bench, was twisting the mic cord around his neck and whipping the mic around like a mace. It caught Jeff on the head and he almost passed out from the combination of heat, fatigue and the blow of a tethered Shure SM-58.

The band was on a list of acts that Rolling Stone wanted covered, speculatively, so I talked to thier manager after the show to see if I could get them toegther for a quick portrait. I like the way musicians look and act after a show, sweaty, blissful and bewildered, but everyone was frazzled, it wasn't the right time and Jeff was still about to faint. The manager handed me a pass for the Spin party the next day, so I would maybe try something there. I had a bit of conversation with Ayad, who was smiling and friendly- but quickly they were off, the boys rolling carts of gear down the alley to the next load-in.

The next day I ran into a couple of them at Stubbs, managed to find thier manager, and we were able to set up a few moments in the back stage area. Most bands are amicable, but you got to push and wait for the right moment to get them all together. Had maybe 3 minutes before the manager was whisking them off someplace else. Good guys, wish them the best.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Vampire Weekend Happy Ending Photos

Vampire Weekend at Happy Endings with John Wray (reading + cookies) Wells Tower (reading +tattoo) Arthur Phillips (reading + bull fighting) and Amanda Stern (host)

Photo Gallery Here

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Ponderosa Stomp 8 Photos Night 2

More From the Ponderosa Stomp... Jerry McCain, New Orleans Revue, Wanda Jackson, Flamin Groovies! link to gallery below!

David Batiste

Rocky Charles

Flamin Groovies


Sunday, May 03, 2009

Ponderosa Stomp 8 Photos Night 1

I was prouder than ever to be involved with the Ponderosa Stomp, this was my fourth year down there. So many unforgettable performances - the first night featured Howard Tate (who was on fire), legendary producer, songwriter and singer Cowboy Jack Clement, Otis Clay with the original Hi Rhythm Section, The Legendary Stardust Cowboy (PARALYZED!) and Dale Hawkins sharing the stage with guitar phenom (and original session player) James Burton for the first time in 30-odd years.

I went down to help out, make portraits, document the panels and shows and I loved every second of it. Normally I can't wait to do it all over again, but our prayers have been answered: The Ponderosa Stomp is programming 3 nights this summer with Lincoln Center (July 16, 17, 19) so I better see every one of you nuts out paying your respect.

enjoy the photos, link to gallery below...

Otis Clay with Teenie Hodges of the Hi Rhythm Secion

The Legendary Stardust Cowboy

Dale Hawkins


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Ponderosa Stomp Photo Archive

Special announcement to my New Orleans friends - I've helped organize a photo exhibit for the Ponderosa Stomp, on view tomorrow through Wednsday (April 27-29). 32 Prints covering artists from this amazing festival. I have 15 images in the show and there is also fine work by my colleagues Joe Rosen and Syndey Byrd.

Tonight we are auctioning 16 framed exhibition prints at a special donor event and all 32 images are available as 11 x 14 signed artist's proofs.

The Ponderosa Stomp features 2 amazing nights of music at the House of Blues, 3 days of conferences and film screenings and a year long exhibit about the roots of New Orleans blues, r&b and rock 'n roll.