Joe Segal's Hero
It's a love hate thing. Joe Segal, the 90 year-old proprietor of Chicago's Jazz Showcase, loves Charlie Parker, which is why the photograph of Parker adorns the wall behind the stage. Joe has been in the jazz impresario business for 70+ years. Everybody who is anybody has been through that club. Joe is an institution in the world of jazz, receiving all sorts of accolades, including the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master honor.
As a photographer, I respect and honor Joe's love of Charlie Parker, but that photograph drives me nuts. It the brightest thing in the room. Charlie's left eye always seems to be staring down at the musicians. It is hard to get a black background around the soloist unless you sit on the sides, which is what I do.
So, last night I was amused as I sat in the first row. There was Edward Wilkerson's sax on a stand, and looking at it, I realized the visual conceit that it offered. I have finally conquered the photograph. Charlie does a solo before the main set.