Prince playing George

Prince Rogers Nelson died today.

Prince, Tom Petty, Steve Winwood, Jeff Lynne and others perform “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” by George Harrison at the 2004 Hall of Fame Inductions. Dhani Harrison (son) is standing next to Petty.

Prince was amazing and while his own music was out of this world, he was a world class musician who could play anything.

This group plus more got together (minus Prince) at the Concert for George organized by Eric Clapton at Royal Albert Hall. If you like this music and these musicians and haven’t seen that, its a must.

Update: This is a piece the New York Times just posted on this particular performance and its worth a read: The Day Prince’s Guitar Wept the Loudest.

[via Devour]

Bill Lauf at Milton Hall

Bill Lauf at Milton Hall

Milton, Connecticut. Our good friend and neighbor Bill Lauf has a “day” job that pays the bill and keeps him on the road more than he’d like. He’s also a fine musician/songwriter and every fall for the past 37 years he’s been doing a concert at Milton Hall, a small gathering place in a small town near Litchfield, Connecticut.

My wife Anne was at the very first one in 1976. I didn’t start attending until I met her in 1989 but I’ve been going every year since and Bill has become a good friend of mine.

In the past I’ve been tasked with getting some decent shots of Bill playing for album covers and liner note photographs and I’ve brought bags of DSLR gear to this concert. This year I was free but brought the Ricoh GR (my only camera aside from my iPhone) to see what it might do in the tough lighting conditions of Milton Hall. I had to get close (no zoom, 28mm lens) but was able to get a few decent shots where the audio mic wasn’t covering his face. I love this camera, it’s a masterpiece of simple design and high usability, a nearly perfect balance of form and function.

There are many things that are great about Bill’s concerts: certainly his music is at the top of the list, it’s superb and he’s continued to grow as both a songwriter and musician over the many years I’ve known him. But, the cast of characters in the audience, some of them our neighbors, some of them familiar faces to us only from this yearly event, is fine as well, and as word spreads about Bill’s concerts more people come and he now has to book the hall for both Friday and Saturday nights. The other “character” that’s in the background but an important part of the mix is Milton Hall and the town of Milton. There’s a reason Bill chooses this venue year after year: the hall has a warmth (heated by a big old wood stove that we had fired up last night) both visually and acoustically that adds character to a folk concert like this and last night there was light snow and it was cold so the place to be was inside the hall, listening to Bill.


Max #194

My flickr contact Bob Dein has captured another great portrait in his 100 Strangers set with his Olympus OM-D. Here’s his report and caption:

In Tampa, I sat in a small trattoria eating a prosciutto and mozzarella Panini. It brought back fond memories of trattorias in Italy. The current bread wasn’t as good, but pleasant enough.

Across the street was a street musician, passionately playing a saxophone. He had to be my next stranger. I approached and theatrically placed a small donation in his jar. He thanked and ‘God blessed’ me. I quickly explained 100 Strangers, and he said fine. Max was from Cincinnati, but has lived in Tampa for twelve years. Then suddenly he began to play and moved in wide gestures. He just wouldn’t stay still for a second. The more I clicked, the more he moved. After several minutes I gave up and left. I waved, and Max raised his eyebrows in acknowledgement.

Well, the Olympus OM-D has one shortcoming. It is weak in continuous auto-focusing. It is poor for sports and birds in flight. It should be fine for portraiture. It was not fine for Max. Fortunately I took LOTS of shots, as several are focused on the background. This is my favorite – by far.

Reggie Watts channel on YouTube

Reggie Watts channel on YouTube

I can’t get enough Reggie Watts, a totally original beat-boxing, improvisor and humorist. It will be interesting to see if his edginess gets smoothed out as he goes more mainstream, and he’s definitely becoming more popular with appearances at TED and PopTech.

Here’s his last day keynote at 2011 PopTech:

Here’s his 2012 talk at TED:

Here’s Watts on Breakthru Radio doing a live broadcast:

I love what Watts does with Andy Richter on Minnesota Public Radio with John Moe. He has deep musical chops that might get hidden in the shockiness of his beat-boxing and lyrics:

My earlier posts about him are here:

2007: Reggie Watts: Out Of Control
2010: Reggie Watts in “F_CK SH_T STACK” (NSFW but brilliant)