Jazz: The Spirit of the Moment
Posted at: 06/19/2012 12:28 PM
| Updated at: 06/19/2012 6:54 PM
By: Janet Lomax | WHEC.com
He's played with some of the best -- George Benson, Dexter Gordon, Chuck Mangione and Gap, Pee Wee Ellis too.
When Jim Allen strolls through the Colacino Gallery at Nazareth College Arts Center it's like a trip down memory lane. There are 120 of his photographs of jazz greats on display and if you're real quiet, you can almost hear them playing.
Allen, a former drummer and now photographer, has jammed with many of them. He says there is nothing like it. "You feel a certain euphoria and when you're playing with world class musicians, you know, they motivate you."
As a musician and photographer, Allen knows just when to get that perfect shot. "There's no song anyone can play that I don't know the changes to.So when they're about ready to reach the apex of the song, I just wait for that."
He calls it "the spirit of the moment" which is also the title of his black and white photo exhibit. "I think black and white shows jazz in its true form."
Allen credits his sister with introducing him to jazz back in the 1940's. He says listening to Max Roach and Clifford Brown convinced him to become a drummer. It didn't hurt that his classmate and friend was Roy McCurdy who has gone on to become a jazz great himself.
"So I bought some drum sticks and a drum pad and he (McCurdy) taught me how to hold the sticks showed me the technique and within two weeks I was sitting in on jam sessions."
Allen played for decades, sometimes at the Pythod in Rochester and up and down the East coast and now, at the age of 80, Allen says his love of jazz is still strong. He calls himself a 'music omnivore". When asked what his preference is -- the drums or the camera -- Allen laughed and said, "I'm a little too old to be carrying drums around."
Jazz: The Spirit of the Moment" is at the Colacino Gallery through July 22.