In 2001, after finishing film school, I spent a lot of time in the inspiring jazz scene in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where improvisational music deeply influenced my shooting style – both in terms of composition, and in terms of sensing the rhythm and spontaneity of a moment.
During that time, I had the pleasure of meeting Nate Shaw, while he has on tour with his band The New Power Trio. Nate and I got talking about Brooklyn, my future home, and where he lived and worked (and still does). We stayed in touch, and I shot photos for The New Power Trio’s next album when I arrived in New York the following February.
Since then, Nate and I have collaborated many times. Nate has composed film scores for moving image projects I directed and produced (including both of my short films, “Métier,” and “Spur,”), and I have photographed publicity photos for a number of his bands. Nate has that wonderful musician quality of saying “yes,” nodding, and appreciating, always looking for the music – the art – in everything. He’s also a father, and so his knack for drawing out art is naturally applied to kids.
I was ecstatic when Nate told me he, along with several of his musician colleagues whose talent I also know firsthand, were starting a music school in Brooklyn! It sounded like an amazing gift to bring to the community – a way of sharing their beautiful, musical way of approaching life with those with a budding interest.
At their end-of-season concert this past summer, I was floored by the cool way they showcase the talent of their students – beginners play a featured melody supported by the rhythm of drums, bass, and accompaniment of professional musicians – elevating the sound to a magical height, and giving the students a chance to understand that playing and performing go hand in hand.
If you have an interest in music for your child, or for yourself, no matter what your age – be sure to check out the Brooklyn Music Factory. There something really special going on there.
(The photos featured with this post are photos I shot in the studio during a typical day at the Brooklyn Music Factory.)