#TBT – Story Behind The Photos #1

One of my favorite assignments was covering concerts at the Greek Theater in Berkeley.

Being a young, low on cash, photographer, Nikons NPS Service was always great about loaning me gear to supplement my owned kit.
The greats were there, and honestly, loved to photograph jazz musicians especially as they were the most chill.

I was hanging backstage, cameras slung on my body, with a bag loaded with extras.
Leaning against a wall, having a smoke, and one of the musicians came up to me.
“Say, are those Export A’s?” said Dizzy Gillespie.
“Yes they are” , I stammered back
“That’s my brand! Can I get one?” “Tell you what, if I can photograph you, I’ll give you a pack!”
He happily agreed, and we started to shoot!
Of course there was the classic puffed cheeks with the upward bell, which all went to just joshing around, playing congas and hanging out.
He ended up giving me a calendar from a Chicago jazz club, and some other things.
Most importantly, we had formed a photog subject bond, and through out the next three days, I was able to photograph him on stage, connect from the wings for more personal shots, And catch moments backstage with some of the other mega stars of the world of jazz.
Because I was hanging with Dizzy , it was assumed I was a “right “ guy, and the access was
invaluable getting moments with these other musicians.
Joni Mitchell was also on the bill, playing with Jaco Pastorius, Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams and Don Alias.
The list of talent was incredible, and the archives from that shoot are invaluable.

Remember when I told you that I was not a wealthy guy? Well, I was bulk loading film, and reusing film cassettes to save some dough. There was a roll that had unfortunate scratches, due to debris in the cassette, and through the years I have had those images worked on and ready for printing.
Just a cautionary tale.

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