December 20, 2022

What a difference a year makes, right? Some 12 months ago I wrote I don’t know jack and I still stand by that. Would stadium concerts rule (they did)? Would the world flock to music festivals in huge numbers (they did)? Would I get COVID at my first music festival in three years (I did, but very mild)? Would Ticketcluster exploit the masses in newer and insidious ways while LiveNation delivered “the biggest summer in concert history” (shocking, I know)? Would I still be able to find refuge in intimate jazz and roots performances (yes, but with some casualties)? Suffice it to say all of the above and then some. After wobbling into the new year, 2022 was perhaps my most satisfying as a music photographer, especially after one helluva lost weekend. It even included a British Invasion of sorts. And, judging from the output and creativity of many pals in the pit, it’s been pretty damn good all the way around.

 

But let’s go back, shall we? Winter surge. Omicron this, Omicron that. We weren’t even saddling up again until February. Still masked, but headfirst. The Just Jazz series resumed in full swing with six February performances, vocalist AmiTafRa’s rapturous debut with a nifty ensemble that included husband Kamasi Washington on sax, his father Rickey Washington on flute, Ben Williams on bass, Jamael Dean on piano, Jonathan Pinson on drums and trombonist Ryan Porter was especially notable. Then, I’ve never been happier to bathe in Galactic’s funk than at the Fonda Theatre Valentine’s week, no matter how many times I’ve seen these guys. Jason Isbell and Shawn Colvin at the gorgeous Theatre at the Ace Hotel a few days later was affirmation I needed. It was beginning to feel like the year might be alright. 

 

Kamasi Washington in a contemplative moment during vocalist AmiTafRa’s Just Jazz series debut, February 4, 2022, Musichead Gallery, Los Angeles, California.

 

Pianist Jamael Dean during AmiTafRa’s Just Jazz series performance, February 4, 2022, Musichead Gallery, Los Angeles, California.

 

Bassist Robert Mercurio with Galactic, Fonda Theatre, February 18, 2022, Los Angeles, California. The New Orleans jam funk outfit kicked the Omicron blues to the curb.

 

Guitarist Jeff Raines with bassist Robert Mercurio with Galactic emerging from the shadows, Fonda Theatre, February 18, 2022, Los Angeles, California.

 

Singer-songwriter Shawn Colvin at the Theatre at the Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, February 22, 2022. She celebrated the 30th anniversary of her debut album “Steady On”.

 

Singer-songwriters (and husband and wife) Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires, February 22, 2022, Theatre at the Ace Hotel, Downtown Los Angeles. A special evening with Shawn Colvin on the bill presented by the Bluegrass Situation.

 

The corner turned in a big way in early April, beginning with my first Skull & Roses Festival at the Ventura County Fairgrounds, site of some memorable Grateful Dead shows (my first straight as an arrow show was there in ’82). Four days of Dead infused bands with headliners including Phil & Friends, Oteil & Friends, Dark Star Orchestra,  as well as JGB with John Kadlicek, and many others. Skull & Roses is full immersion Deadness, while way relaxed in spirit. That place may be a dust bowl, but it still feels pretty small. Jerry’s Alligator Strat was passed around making for some memorable channeling of his spirit. The crowd was a dense quotient of dreads and twirlers and parking lot campers. Both Liz and I were triple vaxxed at that point, but not yet boosted, so I wasn’t all that surprised given our deep dive that her huskier voice and scratchy throat a few days later wasn’t just fest enthusiasm landing.  A positive COVID test confirmed as much. We isolated at home, did what we were supposed to do, and I still got bit by the end of the week. While both fortunate our cases barely registered as colds, we were up against the clock heading into the return of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival less than three weeks out, and finally tested negative just a few days before departure. Such was the 2022 measuring stick. Upside, felt pretty bullet proof rolling into the New Orleans Fair Grounds for the first time since 2019. 

 

Pink Talking Fish guitarist Cal Kehoe gets shown the light on day 2 of the Skull & Roses Festival, April 8, 2022, Ventura County Fair Grounds, Ventura, California.

 

Guitarists Rob Eaton and Jeff Mattson of Dark Star Orchestra on night two of the Skull & Roses Festival, April 8, 2022, Ventura County Fairgrounds, Ventura, California.

 

Melvin Seals behind the Hammond B-3 leading JGB on night 3 of the Skull & Roses Festival, April 9, 2022, Ventura County Fairgrounds, Ventura, California.

 

Bassist Oteil Burbridge working the neck during his headlining set on night 3 of the Skull & Roses Festival, April 9, 2022, Ventura County Fairgrounds, Ventura, California.

 

The ever present good vibes were abundant at the rail and throughout the four day Skull & Roses Festival, April 10, 2022, Ventura County Fairgrounds, Ventura, California.

 

Bassist Phil Lesh early in his closing set on day 4 of the Skull & Roses Festival, April 10, 2022, Ventura County Fairgrounds, Ventura, California.

 

While early crowds felt lighter than years past, Jazz Fest 2022 was one of the highest attended ever. Now, I wasn’t sure how it would all feel, but being back after so long was pretty much nectar for the soul. I say it every year. Greatest. Musical. Event. On. The. Planet. Period. I’ve been covering Jazz Fest since 2005, but this was unlike any other, and still like all the others. Every seat in the Blues Tent riding the waves of raw emotion with The War & Treaty. Trumpet Mafia’s stageful of trumpets in the WWOZ Jazz Tent. Mr. Sipp’s 15-minute stroll through the Blues Tent, pausing for selfies with half the room and never dropping a scorching note. The emotional jazz funerals and parades for Charles Neville, Art Neville and Jazz Fest founder George Wein, all gone since the last Fair Grounds gathering. The Revivalists seizing the Festival Stage and never taking their foot off the pedal, embodying the urgency we all felt being back. Did I mention it was brutally hot? Or that a few in our orbit (as well as several scheduled performers) were COVID scratches by the time Shorty closed it down on Sunday? All of these only at Jazz Fest moments inked themselves just a bit deeper this time around

 

Michael Trotter, Jr. and Tanya Blount of the War and Treaty brought down the house with waves of raw emotion in the Blues Tent, April 29, 2022, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, New Orleans Fair Grounds, New Orleans, Louisiana.

 

“Lady Tambourine”, Rosalie Washington in the Gospel Tent, April 30, 2022, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, New Orleans Fair Grounds, New Orleans, Louisiana.

 

Fiddler Amanda Shaw opening the second weekend of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, May 5, 2022, New Orleans Fair Grounds, New Orleans, Louisiana.

 

Bassist Cecil McBee performing with The Cookers in the WWOZ Jazz Tent, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, New Orleans Fair Grounds, May 1, 2022, New Orleans, Louisiana.

 

Drummer Antonio Sanchez in the WWOZ Jazz Tent, May 5, 2022, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, New Orleans Fair Grounds, New Orleans, Louisiana.

 

The next generation mash up of Indian funk and dance floor beats was on full display with The Rumble, featuring Chief Joseph Boudreaux, Jr., Jazz & Heritage Stage, May 5, 2022, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, New Orleans Fair Grounds, New Orleans, Louisiana.

 

Going old school with Busta Rimes from the Congo Square Stage, May 6, 2022, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, New Orleans Fair Grounds, New Orleans, Louisiana.

 

Members of the Big Seven and Scene Booster Social Aid and Pleasure Club during emotional jazz funeral for founder George Wein, May 6, 2022, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, New Orleans Fair Grounds, New Orleans, Louisiana.

 

Members of the Undefeated Divas and Gents Social Aid and Pleasure Club during the jazz funeral for Art and Charles Neville, May 7, 2022, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, New Orleans Fair Grounds, New Orleans, Louisiana.

 

Vocalist John Boutte taking his turn as one of the many featured guests during the tribute to Dr. John on the Festival Stage, May 8, 2022, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, New Orleans Fair Grounds, New Orleans, Louisiana.

 

Trombonist Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, saxophonist BK Jackson, baritone saxophonist Dan Oestreicher, guitarist Pete Murano and bassist DJ Raymond with Orleans Avenue closing out the return of Jazz Fest, May 8, 2022, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, New Orleans Fair Grounds, New Orleans, Louisiana.

 

Mere days after returning from Jazz Fest, Paul McCartney kicked off the first stadium show of his “Got Back” tour at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles. As with his 2019 Dodger Stadium show, it was a very quick shoot. First two songs from FOH, maybe 7-8 minutes, tops. But, damn, if it wasn’t just a joy to take in the nearly three-hour magical history tour a few days before Sir Paul hit 80. That our media seats were about 25 rows back was a kicker. The Kennedy-Marshall produced feature length doc, “Jazz Fest: A New Orleans Story” hit screens (the big kind) across the country, and if you blinked, you may have missed a flash montage of my images included in the film, and a bunch of back capwards pit sightings in footage throughout. 

 

Sir Paul McCartney seen taking the stage as he got back at SoFi Stadium, May 13, 2022, Inglewood, California.

 

Guitarist Rusty Anderson, drummer Abraham Laboriel, Jr. and guitarist Brian Ray with Sir Paul McCartney at SoFi Stadium, May 13, 2022, Inglewood, California.

 

Yes, ’22 seemed to be hitting its stride. June brought another peak Just Jazz performance with Logan Richardson’s presentation of Blues People at the Paramount Ballroom in Boyle Heights. Dave Alvin with Jimmie Dale Gilmore returned to The Troubadour with glee and fire on July 4th weekend (appropriately), on the mend from months of successful cancer treatment.

 

Saxophonist Logan Richardson during his Blues People performance, May 23, 2022, Paramount Ballroom, Boyle Heights, California.

 

Songwriter and troubadour Dave Alvin at the world famous Troubadour, July 2, 2022, West Hollywood, California.

 

Songwriters Dave Alvin and Jimmie Dale Gilmore, July 2, 2022, The Troubadour, West Hollywood, California.

 

Looking back, it all seemed a windup to a Summer that just kept rolling into the Fall. I need to stop a beat here, for the impossible magic Jay Sweet and all those connected to Newport Folk conjured up this year. Newport is discovery, collaboration and surprises, steeped in a foundation of social activism and a legacy as the oldest running music festival on the continent. But what went down at the Fort this year no one saw coming. Except those who kept it under wraps for seven months. And Brandi Carlile. By now, Joni Mitchell’s closing set is the stuff of legend. How even she didn’t know how much she would be up to. Her extended guitar take on “Just Like This Train”. “Both Sides Now”, enveloping the crowd in a puddle of tears as a thick fog enveloped the Fort. “Summertime”. Whoah. As if Paul Simon joining his Nathaniel Rateliff led American Tune Revue tribute the day before wasn’t the highest bar of the weekend, but it was still pretty darn high. Newport Jazz the following weekend was stacked. The royalty of Ron Carter. The blistering funk of Mononeon. The discovery of Giveton Gelin. Honoring the legacy of George Wein. Jason Moran’s set of the weekend with his trio. This west coast interloper has managed to cover some part of Newport Folk or Newport Jazz since 2014, while picking up a few lifelong friends in the process. I feel like an extended family member amongst the friendliest of tribes after these years.

 

Courtney Barnett at the Newport Folk Festival, July 22, 2022, Fort Adams State Park, Rhode Island.

 

Soul singer Lee Fields at the Newport Folk Festival, July 22 2022, Fort Adams State Park, Rhode Island.

 

The dynamic jam band Goose getting unplugged at the Newport Folk Festival, July 22, 2022, Fort Adams State Park, Rhode Island.

 

Rhiannon Giddens with the poly-cultural Silk Road Ensemble bringing global roots music to the Newport Folk Festival, July 22, 2022, Fort Adams State Park, Rhode Island.

 

Bluesman Taj Mahal celebrating his 80 years, Newport Folk Festival, July 22, 2022, Fort Adams State Park, Rhode Island.

 

Matthew Berninger of The National at the Newport Folk Festival, July 22, 2022, Fort Adams State Park, Rhode Island.

 

Adia Victoria during her electrifying set at the Newport Folk Festival, July 23, 2022, Fort Adams State Park, Rhode Island.

 

Surprise guest Paul Simon during the Nathaniel Rateliff American Tune Revue Saturday closing set at the Newport Folk Festival, July 23, 2022, Fort Adams State Park, Rhode Island.

 

Lucia de la Garza and Eloise Wong of the youthfully energetic Linda Lindas turning up their power-pop at the Newport Folk Festival, July 24, 2022, Fort Adams State Park, Rhode Island.

 

The steel guitar slide action of Buffalo Nichols during the Black Opry Revue set at the Newport Folk Festival, July 24, 2022, Fort Adams State Park, Rhode Island.

 

Singer-songwriter John Craigie before going on stage for his Newport Folk Festival set, July 24, 2022, Fort Adams State Park, Rhode Island.

 

Valerie June at the Newport Folk Festival, July 24, 2022, Fort Adams State Park, Rhode Island.

 

Joni Mitchell’s closing set will go down as one of the most memorable in Newport Folk Festival history, July 24, 2022, Fort Adams State Park, Rhode Island.

 

Blues guitarist and force of nature Celisse getting the Newport Jazz Festival underway, July 28, 2022, Fort Adams State Park, Rhode Island.

 

The pianist Marco Benevento half of the Benevento-Russo duo engaging in an adventurous improvisational conversation at the Newport Jazz Festival, July 29, 2022, Fort Adams State Park, Rhode Island.

 

Bassist Ben Williams at the Newport Jazz Festival, July 29, 2022, Fort Adams State Park, Rhode Island.

 

Bassist Pino Palladino in a trio also featuring guitarist-producer Blake Mills, Newport Jazz Festival, July 29, 2022, Fort Adams State Park, Rhode Island.

 

Trumpeter-composer Terence Blanchard at the Newport Jazz Festival, July 29, 2022, Fort Adams State Park, Rhode Island.

 

Vocalist Jazzmeia Horn, Newport Jazz Festival, July 30, 2022, Fort Adams State Park, Rhode Island.

 

Trumpeter Giveton Gellin, Newport Jazz Festival, July 30, 2022, Fort Adams State Park, Rhode Island.

 

Drummer Makaya McCraven leading his ensemble at the Newport Jazz Festival, July 30, 2022, Fort Adams State Park, Rhode Island.

 

Drummer Antonio Sanchez leading Bad Hombre at the Newport Folk Festival, July 30, 2022, Fort Adams State Park, Rhode Island.

 

 

Vocalist Marylin “Lady Blackbird” Munroe at the Newport Jazz Festival, July 30, Fort Adams State Park, Rhode Island.

 

Cory Wong playing guitar funkestra leader in his return to the Newport Jazz Festival, July 30, 2022, Fort Adams State Park, Rhode Island.

 

Acclaimed vocalist Cecile McLorin Salvant, Newport Jazz Festival, July 30, 2022, Fort Adams State Park, Rhode Island.

 

The elegant and legendary, Ron Carter, the most recorded jazz bassist in history, leading his quintet through an early Sunday set at the Newport Jazz Festival, July 31, 2022, Fort Adams State Park, Rhode Island.

 

Pianist Vijay Iyer leading his trio, Newport Jazz Festival, July 31, Fort Adams State Park, Rhode Island.

 

Drummer Nasheet Waits performing with the Jason Moran Trio, Newport Jazz Festival, July 31, Fort Adams State Park, Rhode Island.

 

Pianist Jason Moran with bassist Tarus Mateen leading one of the standout sets of the Newport Jazz Festival, July 31, 2022, Fort Adams State Park, Rhode Island.

 

Bassist Mononeon is anything but while dropping the densest funk of the Newport Jazz Festival, July 31, 2022, Fort Adams State Park, Rhode Island.

 

Angelique Kidjo covering the Talking Heads “Remain in Light”, another Newport Jazz Festival highlight, July 31, 2022, Fort Adams State Park, Rhode Island.

 

Trumpeter Jon Faddis during the celebration of George Wein’s Newport Jazz Festival closing set, July 31, 2022, Fort Adams State Park, Rhode Island.

 

Pianists Christian Sands and Hiromi sharing the keys, with Cecile McLorin Salvant looking on during the celebration of George Wein’s Newport Jazz Festival closing set, July 31, 2022, Fort Adams State Park, Rhode Island.

 

August into September brought a run of roots and jam shows including Bruce Hornsby and Steve Earle at the Troubadour, JRAD back at the Hollywood Palladium, followed by Umphrey’s later in the month, and TTB (the best dang touring band around) and Goose (haven’t been this high on a “new” band since my youth) at the Greek. Three days of the inaugural BeachLife Ranch Festival brought outlaw country to the water’s edge in Redondo Beach, capped by Brandi Carlile just crushing what continues to be a very big moment for her. Summer gave way to Fall in a big way with Roger Waters’ This Is Not a Drill tour at the Crypto.com Arena, and wherever you fall on the man’s politics, this was undeniably one of the most complete concert presentations in recent memory. TAB at the Palladium (no Taboose out west) and Shovels and Rope back at the Troubadour were October highlights, but it was Bob Weir and the expanded Wolfpack that sealed the month. Three horns, two strings, Matthew Kelly on harp, Jeff Chimenti on keys and Barry Sless on pedal steel on top of the original Weir-Was-Lane Bros were a whole new kind of adventure, not to mention Johnny sitting in for the entire second set.

 

Bruce Hornsby, August 6, 2022, The Troubadour, West Hollywood, California.

 

Guitarist Tom Hamilton, drummer Joe Russo and bassist Dave Dreiwitz of Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, August 12, 2022, Hollywood Palladium, Los Angeles, California.

 

Guitarist Tom Hamilton reaching for the top of his solo, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, August 12, 2022, Hollywood Palladium, Los Angeles, California.

 

Guitarists Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi fronting the Tedeschi Trucks Band, Greek Theatre, August 19, 2022, Los Angeles, California.

 

Keyboardist-guitarist Peter Anspach of Goose, Greek Theatre, August 21, 2022, Los Angeles, California.

 

Drummer Ben Atkind, guitarist Rick Mitarotonda and percussionist Jeff Arevalo, Goose, Greek Theatre, August 21, 2022, Los Angeles, California.

 

Singer-songwriter Steve Earle with his drummer Brad Pemberton, August 24, 2022, The Troubadour, West Hollywood, California.

 

Umphrey’s McGee guitarist Brendan Bayliss, September 2, 2022, Hollywood Palladium, Los Angeles, California.

 

BeachLife Ranch staff at the inaugural event, September 18, 2022, Redondo Beach, California.

 

The twintro, Phil and Tim Hanseroth light up the start of Brandi Carlile’s festival closing set at BeachLife Ranch, September 18, 2022, Redondo Beach, California.

 

Multiple Grammy winner, and singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile taking a well deserved opening bow framed by the Hanseroth twins, BeachLife Ranch, September 18, 2022, Redondo Beach, California.

 

Roger Waters, Crypto.com Arena, September 28, 2022, Los Angeles, California.

 

Phish frontman and guitarist Trey Anastasio with keyboardist Ray Paczkowski, Trey Anastasio Band, October 1, 2022, Hollywood Palladium, Los Angeles, California.

 

Trumpeter-vocalist Jennifer Hartswick, Trey Anastasio Band, October 1, 2022, Hollywood Palladium, Los Angeles, California.

 

Husband and wife Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hurst are Shovels and Rope, October 21, 2022, The Troubadour, West Hollywood, California.

 

A hands up moment with keyboardist Jeff Chimenti, bassist Don Was, drummer Jay Lane, guitarist Bob Weir, pedal steel guitarist Barry Sless and Matthew Kelly on harmonica, the extended Wolf Bros. with the Wolfpack, Greek Theatre, October 25, 2022, Los Angeles, California.

 

Guitarist Bob Weir with the Wolf Bros., Greek Theatre, October 25, 2022, Los Angeles, California.

 

Drummer Jay Lane, guitarist Bob Weir and pedal steel guitarist, Barry Sless of the Wolf Bros., Greek Theatre, October 25, 2022, Los Angeles, California.

 

The Who hit back at the Hollywood Bowl to crack November. A show best summed up by the dude walking out behind me exclaiming “I never miss a tour and this is the best I’ve heard them since 1996”. WIth full orchestra and generous helpings of Tommy and Quadrophenia. Uh, yeah. Then there was the luminescence of Allison Russell at the Troubadour along with songwriter Chris Pierce before Thanksgiving. Chris and I bonded as fellow Angelinos after the show and his latest record “American Silence” is a knockout. I waltzed into December with the Last Waltz Tour closer at the Orpheum Theatre in DTLA and the Warren Haynes led not so rag tag band of NOLA all-stars including Anders Osborne, Dave Malone, Cyril Neville, Terrence Higgins and Mark Mullins had me asking myself the proverbial question “how many days until Jazz Fest”?

 

The Who’s Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend, November 1, 2022, Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, California.

 

The Who’s Zak Starkey, Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend and members of their touring orchestra, November 1, 2022, Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, California.

 

The Who’s drummer Zak Starkey and Roger Daltrey, November 1, 2022, Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, California.

 

Who guitarist Pete Townshend going full windmill, November 1, 2022, Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, California.

 

American Silence is deafening, singer-songwriter Chris Pierce, November 15, 2022, The Troubadour, West Hollywood, California.

 

Allison Russell, November 15, 2022, The Troubadour, West Hollywood, California.

 

Kathleen Edwards and Anders Osborne are featured in the Last Waltz Tour, December 4, 2022, Orpheum Theatre, Los Angeles, California.

 

Keyboardist John Medeski and guitarist Warren Haynes during the final show of the Haynes led Last Waltz Tour, December 4, 2022, Los Angeles, California.

 

So, here we are at year end, taking stock and looking forward (again). Given the world as it was in January, that I got to these shows, let alone documented them, seems a feat in itself. Are we further along the continuum? Yes. Are we in a better place than 12 months ago? I sure as fuck hope so. As it is, I’m just gonna stick with some early Steve Winwood wisdom, “who knows what tomorrow may bring?” Be real, be kind, stay safe. Catch y’all on the flip side.

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