All That Jazz

April 11, 2013  •  1 Comment

I love what I do, and I always enjoy the people I work for.  Photography is a great job, sure it has its challenges but overall it is a wonderful way to make a living.  Sometimes however you are fortunate enough to have an assignment in which everything comes together.  All the things you love seem to be there.  Shooting for Sean and Kate at Something Big Cellars is just one of those occasions. I love music especially Jazz and bluesy kind of stuff, this weekend was full of great music. I also love creative people, musicians, film makers, artists (I married one of those) you name it. I truly enjoy all of those people who experience the world a little bit differently than the rest. This last weekend was truly great, got to shoot creative people doing what they love and hanging out with new friends and basically enjoying life in general.  If whitewater rafting was involved then it would have been like being in heaven, but hey I did get to don the Keens and get into a creek in the name of photography. Above we have David Glenn on the Trombone. David is the director of Jazz studies at Whitman College in Walla Walls and on the bass we have Michael Simon who is an adjunct instructor of bass also at Whitman. 

While this image is most likely one that will not make it into the promotional materials I kind of like it and thought it would be fun to share.  Kate Morrison is a wonderful vocalist, classically trained and I truly believe she could hold her own with anyone.  From left to right Michael Simon who is mentioned above, Dan Cox a fantastic drummer who has played with many international Jazz greats and on the right Gary Hemenway who is one of the best pianists and entertainers I have ever run across.  I worked with them a few weeks ago when it was the first time they every played together as a group, no practice just got together and went for it. That is what I love about great Jazz musicians they can do this and it was flawless.  It was fun working with them again last weekend and they will be together again around June 15. With them will be international Jazz trumpet great Gavin Bondy if you have followed any of my work you will recognize that name or more like likely from the groups he plays in, The Shanghai Woolies and Pink Martini.  Check back for details or check out Something Big Cellars for information:

Gary Hemenway, it is hard to really know what to say about this musician, sure he is great probably one of the very best.  When people get to a certain level it is hard to know if one is better than another and at that level it really doesn’t matter and Gary is at this level. I am sure there are people Gary looks at and is in awe of but dang this guy can play.  That however is only part of the story, he can lead a group, compose, well musically you name it and he can do it very well. What I find to be so amazing is how he can get a crowd involved in what they are doing on stage.  You feel his love of music and people in every note.  He is a consummate entertainer yet this ability is not just a learned skill it is born out of his love of the music, the people he is playing with and the crowd. When he is playing with people who play at the level of those seen here you can feel their energy as they play off each other and their energy fills the room. It is a happy energy and at the end of it all you feel that you have been on a great ride and you leave happy and fulfilled. You will find yourself thinking about it and reliving it for days later. This is more than ability it is part that but the other part is gift. You can find out more about Gary at:

Daniel Cox! Well that is all that really needs to be said. Those who know Jazz and drums know of Dan. Gary calls Dan a truly world class drummer and I am quite sure he is right. Daniel toured with Arturo Sandoval and has played with other greats like Wynton Marsalis to name a couple, but really naming names usually is just to get people to pay attention, once Daniel starts to play there is no need for that.  It is a joy to watch Gary and Daniel get doing and push each other, well Gary says it is Daniel doing the driving. When he gets turned loose to solo it is nothing short of amazing but one of the things that I find so interesting is that Daniel can blend so perfectly with every change, nothing gets him off beat although he pushes it right to the edge and brings it back. He is such a consummate professional that he works adding to the music and never drawing attention to himself but when someone does take the time to watch and listen to him they are in for a treat. His big smile and lively play add to the experience that I mentioned above. He brings and energy and love to the group that is good for both the other musicians and those of us who have the privilege to experience his work.

Here is Kate singing with David sitting in. It was great David just showed up with his trombone and he was invited to sit in with Gary, Kate, Michael and Dan. It was like he had been practicing with them for years, truly amazing.  Kate Morrison is another wonderfully talented person who has put in the work and it shows. Kate is a fantastic vocalist whose incredible voice fits so many different types of music. I believe I mentioned that Kate is a classically trained vocalist and I believe she has a masters degree in music from Whitman, please correct me if I am wrong.  I have thoroughly enjoyed working with and getting to know Kate and her husband Sean both are wonderful, giving people. If you ever find yourself in Walla Walla check out their winery and try their fabulous wine. Sean is a talented and award winning winemaker you owe it to yourselves to sample their wares.  Kate not only is a great vocalist but she is a graphic artist as well you can check out her work at Yes it was an all-around great weekend.

Above is Michael Simon on the bass. Michael as I mentioned above is an instructor of bass at Whitman College.  He is one of those rare musicians who seem to like standing just outside the limelight yet as a singer songwriter he is just as comfortable shining. His quite yet positive personality is a definite plus for the group. Kate has spoken many times about Michael’s ability not only on the bass but as a wonderful person whose encouragement and positive attitude has been of great help to her personally.  I have always liked bass players, that rare breed who hold it all together and march to that different rhythm.  If you are interested in finding out more about Michael check out his Facebook page.

And another shot of Gary Hemenway at     Gary's Facebook page:



Dave Glenn(non-registered)
Great photo!!!! Minor correction. I was the Director of Jazz Studies at Whitman College. I am now retired from teaching. My job now is free lancing as a trombonist, composer/arranger and clinician.
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