Today, Shanghai's legacy as a hotbed of global jazz has been revived at clubs like JZ Club and the House of Jazz and Blues, and, once again, the city has a reputation as a great place to play and hear some excellent jazz. In 2010, Californian Ricky Qi documented the city's jazz scene with beautiful photos that capture the late-night atmosphere of Shanghai's jazz clubs and the spirit of the music. Enjoy! >>>
The below image of Theo Croker (after the jump) is one of my favorites. This was at the Peace Hotel while his band (The Theo Croker Sextet) was playing and I think it was during Curtis Ostle’s solo. It’s just one of those introspective moments when you see him and know immediately he’s just in the moment, enjoying every single nuance in the music.
It’s like when F1 racers are in the zone, going 350 kilometers an hour around the racetrack, they’re wired. That’s what I think musicians feel when they are performing or listening to a great piece of music. Their minds are going into overdrive....
To say that Andres Boiarski is an absolute wonder when he’s playing is an understatement. I first saw him play at JZ a little over a year ago. I was squeezed between two people in a packed upstairs at the little balcony area looking down, and my jaw hit the ground when I heard him solo. His musical voice can pack such a punch. If you listen to him once, you should be able to easily distinguish Andres’ unique sound from other saxophonists.
This a candid photo of Charles Foldesh, drummer for the Theo Croker Sextet. When I took this shot he was relaxing with a couple of bandmates in the lobby of the hotel before they were scheduled to be up. I remember at the beginning of that night’s performance everyone sitting at the tables was shocked to hear Charles shaking it up at what they thought was supposed to be a quiet jazz bar. As Theo says, and I’m paraphrasing, “Charles can swing hard as a _____”
This three photos are part of a studio portrait series my studio partner Josh and I shot for our good friend and amazing saxophonist Willow Neilson. One of my favorite things about Willow is that he might seem like a very unassuming guy at first glance, but he observes, and comes out with these unbelievably accurate and witty anecdotes on just about anything and everything. Here he dons the silver paint and channels the Tin Man with a grotesque twist.
A candid of saxophonist Irwin Hall chilling out during a break at Sinosonic Studios. He was helping out that day in a recording for Brown Sugar regular Damien Banzigou.
Here’s another of my favorites of Theo, utilizing his trusty iPhone to get things done. This was taken right before his performance at the Shanghai Oriental Art Center. He was using the iPhone to help tune his trumpet.
This is China Moses, singing to a packed crowd at JZ Club. A resident of Paris, she was in town for the annual JZ Jazz Festival, and performed an incredible set with the Afrosonic Band that night. I had actually met her earlier that night, under the most embarrassing of circumstances. We were all leaving the Peace Hotel and as Theo ushered me and a few others into a van en-route to JZ, I heard a woman’s voice from the back of the van hurriedly to tell me to close my eyes. It was China, and she was in the middle of changing. So much for a handshake!
This is Shanghai native Erica Lee performing at JZ. I had the pleasure of meeting Erica before I knew she was actually a singer, and it made for another jaw-dropping moment when I saw her come up to the stage at JZ and sing an incredibly smooth rendition of D’Angelo’s “Spanish Joint.”
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