A New Father’s Day Tradition

The Queen City Jazz Fest has slowly become a Father’s Day weekend tradition. For the third year in a row, Charles Whitfield and his team have put together a show that ranged from smooth  jazz to R&B to serious funk. What was supposed to be a day, according to local weather reports, filled with rain, actually turned out to be a sunny day. Mike Phillips put it best when he said, “If I played the wrong notes, would I still get paid?”

The festival kicked of with Yuna. Fresh off her recent release Chapters, her trio got the crowd in the mood for an evening of great music. I have to admit when I first saw the line up for the festival, I had to check out Yuna’s music. After hearing cuts like “Best Love” and “Crush” that features Usher, I realized her music has been on my radio for a while. By the way, Chapters is a must-have for your music collection.

Jeff Lorber has to be one of the coolest people ever to sit behind a set of keyboards. Then you add Paul Jackson Jr. and Everette Harp and now you got some Serious Business that’s hotter than the 88 degree weather during their performance. This line up of Jazz Funk Soul is just as strong as the original with Chuck Loeb. They could have easily been the headliner, and the same could be said about Mike Phillips and Jeff Bradshaw.

It was great seeing the pair of Mike Phillips and Jeff Bradshaw together. The musical range of the pair was on full display. From classic jazz riffs to a tribute R&B greats like Stevie Wonder and the late Prince. Mike Phillips isn’t one to stick to the stage. He took his music into the crowd, dancing and playing his way up one aisle, through a row of seats, and down the opposite aisle – for one long note.

It was my fourth time shooting Culbertson, and it’s the fourth show I’ve seen because he keeps his energetic performances fresh, even as he rotates crowd favorites and standards with newer work. For anybody new to a live Culbertson performance, last night was a powerful introduction to an eclectic musician. For those familiar with Culbertson’s intensity, last night didn’t disappoint – if anything, it raised the bar of expectation. We should rename the stage the Brian Culbertson Stage, since he has owned it at this festival for three straight years.

What’s next for Queen City Jazz Fest? More musicians? An additional day? I’m excited to see.

The third annual Queen City Jazz Fest is quickly becoming a Father’s Day weekend tradition for many music lovers.This year, the festival brought together Yuna, Mike Phillips with Jeff Bradshaw, Jeff Lorber with Paul Jackson Jr. and Everette Harp, and Brian Culbertson. Culbertson headline the show for the third year in a row.

2016….. A Year of Firsts

As 2017 begins, I look back at all I accomplished with my photography over 2016.

2016 brought a lot of firsts and accomplishments for my photography, the biggest one being coverage for The Charlotte Post of President Barack Obama and Secretary Hillary Clinton. It was the first time I got to ride in the presidential motorcade and shoot alongside the White House press corp.

President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton made their first public appearance together since Clinton won the democratic party’s nomination at the Charlotte Convention Center.

Joey Logano took the checkered flag and the million dollars at the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race.

There also was a first in shooting NASCAR’s all-star race. I’ve covered NASCAR for years in television, but this was my first time shooting stills at a race event. It also was the first time I shot stills at a boxing event (it was dark and gritty and a lot of fun), professional lacrosse and premier-league soccer. We often forget about the Charlotte Hounds lacrosse team and the Charlotte Independence soccer team being in our own back yard. The year also brought a first as the English Premier League Swansea City AFC faced the Independence. More high-level soccer came to town for the International Champions Cup as FC Bayern took on FC Internazionale Milano at Bank of America Stadium, a game I was fortunate to be able to photograph. 

My years in television gave me several opportunities to work with national media. This year I had my first as a still photographer by providing coverage of the CIAA basketball tournament for Ebony. I grew up reading Ebony and Jet magazines, and being able to provide pictures for two articles and a slide show of the week was a thrill.

The year of firsts continued when Lalah Hathaway performed at the Queen City Jazz Fest. Over years of shooting music, the one name Charlotte smooth jazz fans always requested was Ms Hathaway, and Charles Whitfield and his staff gave Queen City fans what they wanted.

The 2nd annual Queen City Jazz Fest brought together local and national artist for a night of beautiful music. The lineup included Charlotte vocalist Trish Andrews along with national recording artists Gerald Albright and Brian Culbertson. The night also brought fans the highly requested artist Lalah Hathaway.

My favorite first would have to be Johnson C. Smith University’s graduation.  The university chose the perfect person in Oprah Winfrey to deliver the commencement address. Ms. Winfrey brings an electric excitement, even at 7 AM, that no other person can bring to a crowd.

Each year, my photography takes me to new places. I can’t wait to see where 2017 takes me. I hope you enjoy all my favorites as much as I did taking them.

President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton made their first public appearance together since Clinton won the democratic party’s nomination at the Charlotte Convention Center.

President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton made their first public appearance together since Clinton won the democratic party’s nomination at the Charlotte Convention Center.

The Spring class of 2016 was treated to the inspirational words of Oprah Winfrey. “JCSU, your future is so bright, it burns my eyes!” were some of the inspiring words from the media mogul. Ms. Winfrey was in Charlotte to celebrate the graduation of Noluthando “Thando” Dlomo and Nompumelelo “Mpumi” Nobiva. Both young ladies were graduates of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa.

The 2nd annual Queen City Jazz Fest brought together local and national artist for a night of beautiful music. The lineup included Charlotte vocalist Trish Andrews along with national recording artists Gerald Albright and Brian Culbertson. The night also brought fans the highly requested artist Lalah Hathaway.

Joey Logano took the checkered flag and the million dollars at the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race.

One Hit Promotions stopped in Charlotte for a night of Professional Boxing. The Grady Cole Center’s crowd was electric. The boxing was intense. Several local fighters brought the crowd to their feet with quick victories over their opponents. It was a night to remember.

Livingstone College guard Ty Newman(23) takes out the ball during their match with Johnson C. Smith University.

Joey Logano took the checkered flag and the million dollars at the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race.

The UNCC Men’s soccer team loses a 3-2 heartbreaker to the Virginia Tech Hookies. After a 1-0 lead in the first half, the Hookies were able to come back in the second half UNCC tied it up, but with less than five minutes to go the Hookies scored their final goal to go up 3-2.

Swansea City A.F.C. of the English Premier League made a visit to Charlotte for an international exhibition against the Charlotte Independence.

Black Lives Matter held a rally and march in uptown Charlotte. The first such event since five Dallas police officers were killed by a sniper at a similar event.