I didn’t just start taking photos when I started this blog.
One regret from my days of organizing jazz festivals and chairing the Jazz Commission is that I snapped few photos during those years. But photography has been a hobby for over three decades, and since leaving behind festival organization to now, I’ve taken plenty of shots at Kansas City jazz events.
Until recent years, most of those shots were on slides. I’ve found a relatively easy way to digitize those slides, which means they can now be put online in places like, say, this blog.
From time to time, I’ll post photos from years past. Times like today.
In the fall of 2003, the Mutual Musicians Foundation celebrated its 75th anniversary (the building was purchased by the black musicians union in 1928).
Among the Kansas City greats there that day was Claude “Fiddler” Williams. He was 95 years old and looked frail (he would pass away six months later). He sat inside the Foundation and pulled out his violin to play. He started weakly. But after several minutes, once warmed up, there sat the Claude “Fiddler” Williams I knew, swinging jazz and blues like a man seventy years younger.
No, that’s not entirely true. He swung that violin like someone with the energetic hands of a 25-year old, fueled by the wisdom and experience of a 95-year old. It was wonderful.
Here’s how it looked in the Foundation that fall, 2003 day (clicking on a photo should open a larger version of it):