One last Chuck Brown R.I.P. post…. Chuck had been scheduled to appear at The Hamilton on 6 June with the Brass A Holics, a New Orleans band that has incorporated Go-Go into their own style.
Alas, he couldn’t be there, so they were joined instead by Chuck’s daughter and co-performer KK (“Chuck baby don’t give a fuck”) and Sugar Bear (of E.U. fame) in a full-up Go-Go tribute to Chuck.
With the slide show I had produced for the viewing projected behind the stage, there were eery moments when it almost felt like he was present.
Finally, my favorite personal memory of Chuck Brown:
[A few more images from the tribute performance are available here. See also Chuck Brown, R.I.P. III]
In the run-up to their album release next month, The Archives opened for Ziggy Marley last night at historic Howard Theatre. Although I had been there for Chuck Brown’s viewing, this was the first time I’ve really shot there – great venue for musicians, fans, and photographers (!).
A couple of more photos are here (see also their band portrait).
Cyrus Chestnut was at The Hamilton last week. His virtuosity was captivating, and I loved the show. But I found it hard to shoot in comparison to the rock/funk/reggae/go-go/DJ shows I’m used to. Although of course there are exceptions all around, I think that in general jazz is harder to shoot – there’s less visual drama, and the emotional moments are more subtle.
With thousands in attendance at the Washington D.C. Convention Center, it began solemnly, with prayers, songs, tributes, and an honor guard that carried Chuck’s casket out.
And then of course it became a celebration of Chuck and his Go-Go music legacy.
including Mayor Vincent Gray and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton:
Sugar Bear and K.K. say goodbye….
For more images, please look here.
[See also: Chuck Brown, R.I.P. II]
As a boy, Chuck shined shoes outside the Howard Theatre, getting 25 cents (sometimes one dollar) from the likes of Louis Jordan and Louis Armstrong. As a man, Chuck played there regularly until it closed in 1980. When we did a shoot two and a half years ago outside and inside the ruins, we talked about how great it would be when he returned to play there again after the Howard was renovated:
Alas, Chuck fell ill before that gig, and he died on 16 May, just a month after the Howard re-opened. But return he did – more triumphantly than anyone had imagined – to lie in state there as only he could, in the perfect place for his thousands of fans to come and pay their respect.
Inside, here’s how it looked (without the casket, but showing how it would be lit):
During the viewing, the large screens displayed a silent slide show that I produced using over 300 images from photographers Thomas Sayers Ellis, James Hilsdon, Marvin Joseph of the Washington Post, Chip Py, and me.
[See also: Chuck Brown, R.I.P.]