Songs and Photographs
Most mornings I wake up and go out wandering with my camera, sometimes in my hometown of Los Angeles, often in places around the world where I am traveling on tour. I look, watch, and take in the space around me. I’m conscious of my attentive state, totally absorbed in noticing things.
My path determines itself, each picture leads me to the next. It’s a meandering journey through a landscape or cityscape, but also through my own personal experience. Often the smallest things are what stop me in my tracks and compel me to point the camera and snap the shutter.
A bird flying toward a bird feeder
An almost windowless house next to an empty field
Formal suits for rent in a shop window
A “Twister” game painted on a concrete playground
At these moments I sense that a fleeting intimacy of the everyday has opened up to me, and I feel lucky to be present to witness it. The world is alive to me as a place of wonder, improbability, and visual fascination.
I take pictures, recording my perceptions and observations onto the film, and, in this way, they become communicable and visible to another.
This reportage has seeped naturally into my songwriting. In my notebook, I write down thoughts or verses that come to mind, also chronicling what I observe and experience. Lines from one place and time find their partners in lines from another place and time. Melodies appear, rhymes and meters coalesce, harmonies resolve themselves.
In Songs and Photographs the visual and musical paths of my process converge into a single work in which the songs and the photographs speak back and forth to each other.
Making pictures has shown me this: anything I see, experience, or feel has the right to be in a song. And putting those actual things — the tiniest moments — into my songs, has paved a way toward expressing the personal and the intimate in a fullness I had not quite realized before.
– Anthony Wilson
This edition encompasses a 180g vinyl LP and a 48-page photobook in a sleeve.
Musicians: Anthony Wilson, Gerald Clayton, Joshua Crumbly, Patrick Warren, and Jay Bellerose
The Palmist’s Hand
While We Slept
Song from a Dream
Great Dream from Heaven
Songs and Photographs
Listening to My Heartbeat
Fear of Losing
Over the Sea
Listen to Lynell George’s radio essay on Songs and Photographs, broadcast on KPCC’s The Frame on February 1, 2019.
Object dimensions: 31.2 x 31.2 x 1.2 cm
First edition 2018: 1000 copies
LP: 180g vinyl, 33.3 RPM, audiophile pressing
Cover dimensions: 31.2 x 31.2 cm
LP-cover: indigo colored board printed in silver
LP-sleeve: transparent mylar
48 pages; 22 color images
Text in English
Softcover lay-flat binding (Schweizer Broschur); cover is made from an indigo colored board printed in silver; stitched book block has a traditional, hand-applied dispersion adhesive and linen reinforcement on the spine; book block is glued with a dispersion adhesive onto the inside back cover and the cloth-covered spine remains free.
Trimmed dimensions: 31.2 x 31.2 cm
Sleeve: sapphire blue colored board printed in silver
Book paper is GardaPat Kiara150g, a wood-free, acid-free, coated paper produced without optical brighteners at Cartiere del Garda in Riva del Garda, Italy.
LP labels are Fly Extraweiß, a super-calendered, wood-free, and acid-free paper produced by Schleipen Papierfabrik in Bad Dürkheim, Germany.
Colored cover boards are Les Naturals in sapphire blue and indigo from Cartonnerie Jean in Bonnat, France.
Silver ink is Miracle Silver from Huber Group and Eckart, provided to us as a special gift from Gerhard Steidl.
Printing: the book, covers, and LP labels were printed on Little Steidl’s Roland 200 offset-lithographic press using a four-color process for the book, silver inks for the covers, and indigo and silver inks for the LP labels.
All songs by Anthony Wilson, except Great Dream from Heaven (traditional)
While We Slept and Song from a Dream were commissioned in 2014 by Jazz at Lincoln Center for the concert series New Jazz Standards.
The recording was produced by Joe Harley and Anthony Wilson.
Mixed at Studio 835, Los Angeles
Engineered and mixed by Michael C. Ross
Assistant engineers: Wesley Seidman and Alejandro Baima
Mastered by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio, Los Angeles
Pressed by Rick Hashimoto at Record Technology Inc., Camarillo
All photographs by Anthony Wilson
Book and packaging design: Nina Holland/Little Steidl, Göttingen
Heidelberg drum scans from 35mm color negatives, color correction, and separations: Nina Holland/Little Steidl, Göttingen
Pre-press and offset-lithographic printing: Nina Holland/Little Steidl, Göttingen
Binding: Hartmut Köhler Buchbinderei, Rodgau
Sleeve construction and label die-cutting: Bruns Kartonagen, Göttingen
Goat Hill Recordings and Little Steidl: 2018
Price: €87 in Germany
About the Artist
Born in Los Angeles in 1968, guitarist and composer Anthony Wilson is known for a body of work that moves fluidly across genres.
The son of legendary jazz trumpeter and bandleader Gerald Wilson, his musical lineage has deeply influenced his creative trajectory, compositional choices, instrumental groupings, and the wide-ranging twelve album discography that blooms out of them.
His first album — Anthony Wilson (1997) — featured a nine-piece “little big band” and received a Grammy nomination for Best Large Ensemble Jazz Recording. It was followed by Goat Hill Junket (1998), and Adult Themes (2000). His fourth recording with the nonet, Power of Nine (2006), was recognized as one of the top ten jazz albums of the year by the New Yorker. Wilson’s acclaimed trio albums Our Gang (2001), Savivity (2005), and Jack of Hearts (2009) reimagine and reframe the Hammond organ-based genre of post-bop, soul-inflected jazz. In 2011, Wilson released Seasons, a live record and short film documenting the compositional process and premiere performance at the Metropolitan Museum of Art of his extended song cycle of the same name. The cycle was written for and performed on a quartet of guitars called “The Four Seasons,” handcrafted by luthier John Monteleone specially for the project. That same year, Wilson released Campo Belo, a collection of original instrumental songs recorded in São Paulo, Brazil.
Traveling into, through, and beyond genres, Frogtown (2016) marked a turning point for Wilson as a composer and his debut as a singer. Renowned producer Mike Elizondo teamed with him to realize this collection of layered, intimate musical stories and portraits. Frogtown sets the stage for Wilson’s latest, Songs and Photographs (2018), in which his distilled, personal musical compositions enter into a dialogue with his 35mm photography. The work develops from two intertwined paths, one sonic and one visual, that increasingly play complementary roles in Wilson’s creative process.
An inventive soloist and sensitive accompanist, he has been a core member of Diana Krall’s quartet since 2001, after joining her for a series of concerts in Paris at the Olympia Theater, which became the Grammy award winning recording and concert film Live in Paris (2002).
Over the past two decades, Wilson has joined a diverse roster of jazz masters on their recordings and performances, including Ron Carter, Mose Allison, Bobby Hutcherson, Madeleine Peyroux, Joe Sample, Al Jarreau, and Harold Land. And while his footing is firmly rooted in the jazz idiom, Wilson pivots with ease into other genres, having contributed his instrumental texture and improvisational authority to albums by pop music legends Paul McCartney, Willie Nelson, Leon Russell, Aaron Neville, and Barbra Streisand.
Wilson was awarded the Thelonious Monk Institute International Composers’ Award in 1995. He has also received commissions from Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, the International Association of Jazz Education, and the Henry Mancini Institute. In 2018, he was selected as a MacDowell Colony fellow.