saxophone

Three days with the Music Institute of Chicago

In November, I had the great fortune of spending three days on three different campuses of the Music Institute of Chicago. From a roomful of musical toddlers to the New Horizons senior band, there was music from everyone, reminding me of my own days of Suzuki cello.  The enthusiastic students, teachers, MIC staff, and parents gave me a rich and memorable experience. The future of music is in good hands.  

Photos © Copyright 2015 by Elliot Mandel. All rights reserved. 

New Year's Eve 2014 in music and pictures

I spent New Year's Eve 2014 in much the same way I spent most of the year: photographing great music. During Evanston's First Night celebration, I hopped from one downtown cathedral to another, in and out of the cold, to catch some killer jazz ensembles, as well as slam poet extraordinaire Marc Smith doing his thing. Here are some of my favorite shots from the evening, the last pictures I took in 2014, and some of the first of 2015.  

On Jazz and Photography

I wish the Pharez Whitted Group had a standing gig at the Green Mill.  These guys played some of the hardest-hitting, soulful music I'd heard at the Mill all year.  From my seat down front, I had clean views of most of the band (no music stands!), so I snapped away.  

My affinity for jazz has grown in the last year alongside my approach to photography, and I believe the two are related.  I've discovered that, for me, photography is largely improvisational. I arrive at a shoot with an idea of what I want, but the final product is often a collaboration between the subject or client and myself.  The best images come from on-the-spot decisions, and I've learned to embrace the unknown or unexpected.  Jazz teaches me this lesson every time.   

Thanks to Pharez Whitted (trumpet), Eddie Bayard (sax), Lovell Bradford (keys), Jon Wood (bass), and Greg Artry (drums) for a weekend of killer music.  

Recent visits to the Green Mill

I'm pretty lucky to have one of the world's greatest jazz clubs three blocks away from my apartment.  Recently, I've seen saxophonist Victor Goines, who performs around the world with the Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra; and accordion virtuoso Julien Labro and the Hot Club of Detroit.  Click through the gallery below for some views from my table.