Bass Hands Revisited

Chris Wood from Medeski,Martin and Wood is one of the world’s best bass players. This was captured during “acoustic tour” in 2015 at The Sherman Theater in Stroudsburg Pennsylvania. He played three different basses during the show. When he plays the “stand up”bass the instrument seems to become part of his body.

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Bass Hands

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John Scofield at The August Wilson Center

Last evening we returned to the August Wilson Center to attend the closing event of the Highmark Blues and Heritage Festival. Last year we visited the center for the first time to attend the Pittsburgh Shorts Film Festival. We vowed to return to see a music performance and as we suspected it is a perfect venue for Jazz.

John Scofield is a master guitarist we had never seen and love his recordings with Miles Davis, Medeski, Martin and Wood and others. He was amazing and just as impressive were the musicians in his band. We had seen drummer Bill Stewart perform before with the Brecker Brothers. Vicente Archer on bass and Gerald Clayton on piano and organ also were both amazing performers. The acoustics are so wonderful we could clearly hear everything without excessive volume. This was the first Blues and Heritage Festival, we will plan to attend again next year.

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John Scofield

My Smithsonian Contest Entries

To date I have submitted 23 entries in to this years Smithsonian Photo Contest. You can review my entries by following this link

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Ghost Ship

Memphis Tennessee

Memphis is situated along the banks of the Mississippi River just across the border of Arkansas and only miles from Mississippi. It is a city of about 650,000 and ranks sixth in The United States asa center for African Americans. About 65% of the people in Memphis are African American and it shapes the culture and history of the city.

Of course Memphis is known for an unfortunate event in our history; the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. I believe every citizen needs to visit Memphis to experience the emotion of the National Civil Rights Museum. It also important in the history of the Blues. See it performed on Beal Street or explore the history at Stax Records or Sun Studio. Also enjoy some amazing food and barbecue. A great place to visit and explore some original American culture.

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Memphis Skyline

Memphis Skyline

Memphis Skyline

The National Civil Rights Museum—Memphis

If you have only one thing to do in Memphis it should be to visit the National Civil Rights Museum . Even though I have lived through a lot of The Civil Rights Movement I found this museum to be highly informative and an emotional experience.

You can easily spend the whole day there. There are many exhibits and interactive features. It is highly emotional and moving. After three hours we were drained. I don’t know if it was planning but across the street is the Blues Hall of Fame. We found it to be the perfect palette cleanser after our emotional upheaval. We sat in the listening booth and saw great performances that eased our souls.

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National Civil Rights Museum

National Civil Rights Museum

National Civil Rights Museum

Memphis Street Art

In spite of the fact that the population of Memphis is 62% African American it wasn’t until 2017 that Civil War statues were removed from the city. This mural expressing the horrors of lynching is near the National Civil Rights Museum. It is a grim reminder that the Civil War was not the end of racial hatred in the USA.

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Memphis Street Art

Stax Records–Soulsville USA

A lot of people if asked, might say Detroit is the home of Soul Music. Hitsville U.S.A. is the nickname given to Motown’s first headquarters. It was purchased by Motown founder Berry Gordy in 1959. However two years earlier Stax Records was founded in Memphis Tennessee. It was later dubbed Soulsville USA.

The Motown and Stax sound were the roots of American soul music. They were more similar than different. However, you could say that the Motown sound fueled by the Funk Brothers was smoother. Stax artists like Otis Redding and Carla Thomas had their roots a little more in gospel and their music was more emotional.

Visiting the Stax Record Museum is a must for anyone visiting Memphis. More than Graceland it explains the soul of the region.

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Soulsville USA

Soulsville USA

Soulsville USA

Soulsville USA

Soulsville USA

Soulsville USA