Jazz in the city

Friday, June 25, 2010

The essence of LIFE...

My three Godsons

As I go through life with it's triumphs, trials and tribulations the constant and sustaining force is my faith, family and friends. Recently I have been struggling to find my rhythm professionally ,and as a result financially, but through it all major life events shared with my family and close friends have kept me happy, healthy and whole.

Realizing how blessed I am to have such a loving family and friends gives me great joy. I hope that I bring as much joy into their lives as they bring in to mine. The bottom line is this... With family and friends I have everything I need and without them I have nothing.

Can I get an Amen ??

Hanging with cousin as she celebrates a milestone birthday
The Fam

Sunday, April 25, 2010

EVERY DAY is Earth Day...

Costa Rica

This past week was Earth Day and today is the Climate Rally on the National Mall in Washington,DC. It's been raining off and on today but I still might make it down for the celebration. Great cause and getting to see Joss Stone, The Roots and John Legend perform doesn't hurt :)

You might be asking what do the two pictures of beautiful Costa Rica have to do with a Climate Rally in DC...well it's simple really despite what some people are trying to make you believe the Earth is in danger and we have to start making changes in the way we live to protect it.Period.

Last weekend the weather was glorious in the DC area and I took advantage of it and did some hiking in Great Falls National Park and soaked up all that nature. Absoultely beautiful.
Great Falls National Park

We should all do what we can to reduce our carbon footprint. I enjoy nature, whether it is grandioise like giant waterfalls, a majestic mountain or a simple flower.Mother Nature has her own plan and agenda but we can help by being responsible stewards of this planet we call earth. Remember there is only one Earth, let's take better care of it and each other so we can have this...
Table Mountain - Cape Town, South Africa
simply flower petals - Earth

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Is a Gourmand the same as a Glutton ?

Gourmand -one who likes good food and drink and tends to indulge in them to excess.

Wow ! that is a pretty harsh definition and I'm not sure it actually fits me but I LOVE great food and drink, but as with everything else...in moderation. Maybe I'll just call myself a foodie :). I love gourmet food whether it be dining out or preparing the meal myself. My definition of "gourmet" varies a lot  based on the circumstances. For example at a baseball game ,in the great outdoors, hot dogs with an ice cold brew is about all you need for a gourmet experience. A newspaper covered table filled with crab legs, crawfish,drawn butter and corn on the cob does it for me every time ! I think you get my point.

I will redefine being a Gourmand as someone who enjoys good food, drinks, their environment and most importantly their company at the time. A much more inclusive club don't you think ?

There is nothing like preparing and sharing a meal you created with love with your friends and family. Cooking is a passion of mine that I compare with making art. Using fresh ingredients and lots of love you can create gourmet dishes on a Viking stove or fat, juicy burgers on a hibachi grill at the park.

 Photographing food has been in news a lot lately and especially with cellphone cameras being readily available very easy to  do. ://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/07/dining/07camera.html?src=me&ref=general

 Also there are websites that highlight the sensuous nature of food and have created a new term called food porn because the dishes look so  delectable. http://foodporndaily.com/

Enjoy a few of my personal fotos of food and drink but make sure you get out to your favorite restaurants especially alfresco, fire up the grill, or season your cast iron skillet and make some magic happen ! Bon apetite !

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Don't hate on Fred Sanford.

Spring is in full bloom. Easter has come and gone and the sense of renewal is upon us. One Saturday while hanging in DC snapping fotos I came across a flea market. It got me to thinking about the sense of starting over, whether it be a career, a relationship or a new way of thinking.

A lesson I have learned is to not discount anything too hastily but let ideas and thoughts marinate for awhile until I  can appreciate or dismiss them. Something that ultimately is not good for you may in fact be perfect for someone else you know. I guess the moral of this story is to keep an open mind.

Junk to you may be a gem  to someone else...or visa versa.

 Sanford & Son theme song

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

MUSIC is the key...

I LOVE MUSIC !!! all kinds of music and I particularily enjoy seeing live music at small intimate clubs, concert halls, outdoor festivals, street musicians, you name it. I have been blessed recently to have checked out some outstanding live jazz and that has made me very, very happy. Big shout outs to Robert Glasper Experiment and Christian Scott...y'all did your thing !

Watching the passion of the musicians brings out an emotional response in me that can't be duplicated from listening to my extensive Itunes library or the radio.  I enjoy the interplay between the musicians, who are performing for the audience, but are clearly in their own little world with the music and are merely sharing with us.

April is Jazz Appreciation Month and I appreciate JAZZ so I'm all about that. It is a great American artform that is appreciated all over the world even more so than here in the states, which is a shame.

Also the weather is starting to break and that means great lunchtime concerts and the Spring and Summermusic festival season. I can not wait ! 2010 has been a great year for new music already from Sade, Maxwell to Badu and the aforementioned gentlemen - Glasper and Scott. I look forward to want else comes down the pike and to being there in person as they do what they do.

Enjoy the photos of some great performances from last year and get ready for more to come.

Support Live Music !!! See you at the show.

         Terrance Blanchard
                              Esperanza Spaulding                                    
Drum Circle - Malcolm X Park - Washington, DC

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A taste of the Big Apple...

I took a mini "budget" trip up to New York midweek and remembered why I Iove that city so much. Energy. Diversity.Style. I covered a lot of ground, perused neighborhoods I used to live in and visited places where I spent plenty of time. I met with some friends and unfortunately didn't hook up with others. Fortunately there is next time...

I also took a lot of pictures of my favorite things. Nouns :people, places and things. There is so much to see and do in the City and just thought I'd share a few snaps of some of what I saw. From Harlem to Brooklyn and many places in between. New York City makes you feel alive !

Monday, March 15, 2010


Busboys and Poets
Sitting in my favorite coffee shop/bookstore,community gathering spot Busboys & Poets which has nothing to do with this photograph, but then again maybe it does. This is a very unique spot and has a very diverse crowd and I really enjoy vibing off their energy. The people here are in small groups discussing things or are individually tapping away on their laptops.I have no idea what type of projects they are working on,or  if they are merely websurfing, but I hope that they are passionate about whatever they are doing.

I have been playing around and quite frankly only following my passion passively. That is not going to get it done. I need to "go for it" whatever that means and putting these words on the screen is a first step. Being passionate about something or someone does not necessarily mean taking drastic steps, or not being afraid of the consequences but means accepting the consequences of anything that brings you joy.

One of the many definitions for the word Passion is: an intense desire or enthusiasm for something. I have that for taking photographs, travelling and writing. Currently economic concerns may be preventing me from jumping in with both feet, but I have realized that slow and steady progress towards a goal is a viable option. It is not always important to get there quickly, but more important to get there. Period.

Well enough about me :) Now to this photograph. I do not  know the circumstances of this gentleman but what I do know is that he is passionate about playing his music. It is obvious by the way the background is moving forward that he is content to live in the moment and do what he loves.

I too, am ready.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Daylight Savings Late night vibe

I just decided that I don't always have to have something smart or witty to say on my blog. It is called soulfotography for a reason and sometimes the photos will speak for themselves. I might add a caption sometimes and other times I won't. Hopefully the images I post will work your imagination all by themselves.

I must say, that even though I will be hurting in the morning missing this "lost" hour, I do look forward to more sunlight in the evenings.


Monday, March 1, 2010

Inner City Blues...

I spent a Saturday driving through NE Washington,DC in the neighborhoods and also headed back downtown.I was on my usual quest for interesting images to photograph and one thing that caught my eye was the preponderance of small inner city neighborhood grocery stores and liquor stores.Now I'm sure you can find bread, milk, OJ, etc. inside these stores but they are a far cry from the suburban, or even better city neighborhood, food emporiums like Whole Foods, Giant or Trader Joe's.

The signage on these "stores" always list beer, wine, liquor, lotto and check cashing. Not quite the five daily food groups but unfortunately, it seems in the ghetto, that is what is being told...and sold.

It is unfortunate that this exploitation has been going on for decades and it does not appear to be ending anytime soon. In addition to the glut of liquor stores, the inner city neighborhoods have excessive amount of fast food restaurants. The lack of quality produce
and better dining choices contribute to a long list of ills including heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, etc. which adds to our nation's health care crisis. That is for another blog post.
Even when construction is going on and a neighborhood is changing, one constant in the inner cities across America,are liquor stores and churches. I'd rather see more recreational centers and libraries but then that's just me. Something has to fundamentally change in each and every neighborhood and until it does we will continue to have major problems as a nation.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


Every major metropolitan area goes through periods of gentrification where a once undesirable area transforms and reinvents itself. One example in Washington,DC is the H Street Corridor South East of the US Capital. Currently there are many changes(including renaming it the Atlas District) that is first noticed by the improvement of the sidewalks and the main thoroughfare. Additionally a trolley car line is being built to serve transportation needs and provide ambience.

Of course repairing the streets and sidewalks is a good thing, but my question is, did they not need repairing before the neighborhood started to change ?

A little history about H Street includes the fact that it was one of Washington's earliest & busiest commercial districts including the location for the first Sears Roebuck store. The area started to decline after WW2 and was severely damaged during the 1968 riots. Back in 2002 concrete plans were made to revitalize the area but is has been slow in coming. 

There are several neighborhoods in DC  I cold have chosen to write about but H Street/ Atlas District is still up and coming and frankly who is to say it will ever come all the way back. Interspersed amongst the new live music venues, tea & coffee lounges are wig shops, nail salons, liquor stores and check cashing joints.

Progress is being made for sure, and hopefully the new Atlas District can retain some of it's current charm (and residents) and become a great example of urban renewal not urban recycle.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

4 Women...

Soweto, South Africa
Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic

Four Women is one of my many favorite Nina Simone songs. Powerful. She sings of four women in particular but they represent all women and the strength that they possess. The song tells the stories of these women and their trials and tribulations but ultimately speaks about their power. The fotos here are of four women of different ages, nationalities and stations in life. I love Women and I respect Women. Very intriguing beings. The more I know, the more I want to know.
What are these women's stories ? What is yours ?

One day at a time...

What does the name Home Depot mean to you ? Well, for most Surbanites it is where they go to either fix up or beautify their slice of the American dream with a new kitchen with a Sub Z fridge and Viking range or a new entertainment center to house their new flat screen.

There is another side of the Home Depot equation, and that is the plight of the day laborer who patiently waits in the parking lot for a shot at getting work and a piece of the dream...at least for the day. I find it interesting and paradoxical the juxtaposition of these two groups. America is growing and changing but there is still a huge gap and becoming less about race and more about class...food for thought.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Celebrating life !!!

Like everyone else, Haiti has been on my mind and in my prayers this last week. I have never been to Haiti but have been to the Dominican Republic several times and fell in love with the beauty of the people and the country. The purpose of this blog post is not to highlight the terrible tragedy that is happening now but I want to illuminate the spirit,pride and energy of the Caribbean people.

These fotos were taken in the Summer of 2009 and capture the essence of the DC Caribbean Festival parade down Georgia Avenue in Washington,DC. There is a huge extended family of Caribbean immigrants in the US and DC in particular and my hope is that Haiti rises as a stronger and better nation and can begin to celebrate life again.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Commute...

Living in a major metropolitan city has it's advantages but traffic grid lock is not one of them.
I took a few pictures of Washingtonians making their way home. Something needs to happen to ease this traffic congestion...personally I vote for mass transit. What do you think ?