Adriana Mateo's New Photo Book, AM Jazz, Available in USA and Beyond
A collection of captivating photographs of jazz artists, AM Jazz: Three Generations Under the Lens (Peruzzo Editoriale), by Adriana Mateo, debuted in the United States last night at a book signing and gallery exhibit at New York's Zinc Bar. With a foreword by National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master Jimmy Heath and an introduction by jazz writer Enzo Capua, the book spans a decade in the life of the peripatetic photographer and her subjects.
Heath and Capua were on hand to celebrate the book launch, and guests were entertained by a group of musicians often photographed by Mateo. The band featured Jimmy Heath, saxophone; Jeb Patton, piano; Mark Gross, saxophone; Willie Jones, III, drums; John Webber, bass; and Roberta Gambarini, vocals.
The musicians in AM Jazz are pictured working at iconic events including the Newport Jazz Festival, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and Italy's Padova (Padua) Jazz Festival and Umbria Jazz Festival, as well as in clubs and concert halls in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, England and Brazil. Settings range from intimate moments of artists caught mid thought to groups of musicians in mid performance.
The renowned photographer was inspired by the loss she felt reverberate through the jazz world beginning in 2010 when legendary saxophonist James Moody died. The jazz community continued to remember Moody as they mourned the loss of several other elder statesmen, including Dave Brubeck, Frank Wess, Cedar Walton and Lew Soloff as well as Mateo's friends Mulgrew Miller and Dwayne Burno. Their passing sent Mateo on a mission to work harder at documenting living jazz musicians and to get her photos out to people who love the genre as well as those less familiar with it.
The black and white photos, some hundred in all, are shot on the sly. The photographer is present, invisible, her camera a silent instrument. The focus is on details of what is happening inside the studio or on stage as musicians work together. "Capturing these particular moments was very special for me. I can remember each one, " says Adriana. "They represent a bond I form with these artists."
Mateo's artistic skills, such as the ability to trap indirect light and reflection, especially with pianists, are bold and can be seen on a captivating 2012 portrait of Aaron Diehl at a piano along with his own mirror image (Page 44). Many of the portraits, such as individual snaps of Sullivan Fortner, Roy Hargrove and James Genus, hone in on a lone, heroic artist, seemingly engrossed on nothing other than the note coming out of their instruments right then. They are spare, tightly focused and hard to look away from. (Pages 28/Fortner, 30/Hargrove, 78/Genus). Others, such as a double-page spread of Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter (Page 92) at the Newport Jazz Festival visually shout with exuberance and the collaborative nature of the genre, as does another double-page spread of the Dizzy Gillespie All Stars Big Band from 2012 (Page 18).
AM Jazz spans generations of jazz greats. Younger artists include the then 12-year-old Joey Alexander, (Page 103) the youngest performer to ever grace the Newport Jazz Festival stage. Bassist and singer Esperanza Spalding (Page 70) and Jon Batiste (Page 101) are well represented as is Dave Brubeck smiling gleefully while celebrating his 90th birthday on stage, also at Newport. Plus, there are intimate photos of musicians off stage, talking, gathering and celebrating. Adriana is a fly on the wall documenting their interactions. She shows what she sees and is at heart a jazz fan, a lover of the genre with an innate sense of how to translate her vision into print.
Adriana Mateo was born in Buenos Aires and lives in New York City when she's not on the road photographing jazz veterans and venues. A graduate of the NYU Film School, she's a cinematographer as well. Her works can be seen in the Huffington Post, Time Out New York Hot House Jazz and Down in New Orleans and other publications. Her mission is to share her love of jazz with the world. AM Jazz: Three Generations Under the Lens is Mateo's first book. A gallery exhibit of her work from the book is planned to tour Europe later this year.
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