What Would Frank Say Today?

I took this picture of Frank Zappa at The Syria Mosque in Pittsburgh in 1974. He was a musical genius but by the time he died in 1993 was also a political activist. Throughout 1988 he had voter registration booths at his concerts.He even considered running for president of the United States as an independent.

I can’t help but wonder what he would say about today’s climate of partisan politics and religious fervor. As an activist and atheist his voice is missed in the national debate but his music lives on.

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© Richard Burke 1973-2012

Frank Zappa Pittsburgh Civic Area


The Bad Plus at August Wilson Center Poll

Last week I published some images of The Bad Plus performing in Pittsburgh at The August Wilson Center.

The images caused some Facebook discussion of if they should be in monochrome or color. I can”t decide so here are some images of Orrin Evans on Piano and Reid Anderson on Bass in color and monochrome. Help me decide by answering this poll.

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Orrin Evans (Color)

Orrin Evans (Monochrome)

Reid Anderson (color)

Reid Anderson (Monochrome)

The Bad Plus at The August Wilson Center

About ten years ago my daughter gave me a CD of The Bad Plus for my birthday. I loved their complex improvisational rhythmic music. Some of the best new jazz I had heard in a while. Over the years there have been a couple of changes in the group. Although the founding member Ethan Iverson has left the group founding member bassist Reid Anderson and drummer Dave King, have added Orrin Evans on piano. The results are still amazing music.

These images are from last night at The August Wilson Center in Pittsburgh.

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The Bad Plus

The Bad Plus

The Bad Plus

Zappa at The Pittsburgh Syria Mosque May 5, 1973

I have my comercial store with Red Bubble. Last year Red Bubble removed some of my work of Jerry Garcia saying the Garcia Family Trust had complained. I argued that I took the photographs of Jerry Garcia in a Public Venue and the ticket only restricted video recordings. I was protected by copyright law. Red Bubble intervened on my behalf and they agreed to allow my images to remain on the site for printed work but not for merchandise. Copyright law protects my original photography but doesn’t give me the right to manufacture t-shirts with my image. Only the original image is protected.

Now the Zappa Family Trust has filed a complaint and I expect a similar outcome. However so far they have only complained about two images and one t-shirt. They have not yet removed my best selling t shirt. So follow the link below to order your Zappa Hope T-Shirt today. It may not be around much longer.

The original shot for this creation was taken during the Apostrophe Tour on May 6, 1973 at Pittsburgh’s Syria Mosque licking <a href="http://clicking here.” rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”>here.

Zappa Hope T-Shirt

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

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

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