Live Music is Always Best

Update – March 2018


Musicians! They give us so much! We listen to them every day on our stereos, mp3 players, cellphones, computers and tablettes. The real test is seing musicians live! That’s what it’s all about. Being in a great nightclub with good friends feeling the Friday night adrenaline kick in and listening to the powerful, punchy, rich tunes the talented musicians play on stage. You always leave satisfied, singing the last tune you heard on the way to the restaurant. You know it when you’ve seen live music… you want to go back next week. It’s in this spirit that I write the article “Live Music Is Always Best“- Read on!

This is a living document – adding musician profiles periodically.

A closeup of guitarists exchanging licks at Bluesfest in Ottawa, Canada.

Taking Stock

I sell stock photography to publishers, graphic designers and advertising & design firms. Getting the right image is always a challenge. Take this image, Live Guitarists. By not including the faces, the closeup image becomes more generic, making it available to more interpretations. It could stand for Blues, Rock or Country music. It has a live feel to it and portrays energy and power. You know that it’s probably loud and punchy and there is no mistaking a live music performance. Thanks to Brad Campbell and Keith Richardson of The Yohawks for this great shot! Note that the Yohawks’ new CD is available on iTunes.

Soloing on the tenor sax is René Lavoie at a Halloween concert. Photo by Michel Loiselle

Here’s another way to show live music. This photo of saxophonist René Lavoie taken at a Halloween concert makes this solo interesting as we’re seeing the instrument with all its flaws and scratches. The saxophone always brings to mind nightclubs and all kinds of music styles from Jazz to Blues. The other reason this photo works is that there is a suggestion of movement from left to right just like when we read. Photographers wishing to sell photos of people should realize that a Model Release is always needed even if the faces are not shown. The rule is, if the person can recognize him/herself, then you need a Model Release. However, If the photo is newsworthy, such as a live shot of Beoncé in concert, then you can sell the image as an “Editorial” photo and publishers can use it as long as it’s not for advertising purposes. It’s a nice way to get around the Model Release.

Musical equipment setup at a Gringos Latin/Jazz concert in Ottawa, Canada. Photo by Michel Loiselle

And finally, here is a shot that doesn’t need people, well not really. It’s a photograph of the Los Gringos band setup from Ottawa, Canada that portrays anticipation for what’s coming. You know by the setup that it’s serious enough to be on this great stage with lots of lights, and the audience knows that when they do play, you’ll hear a great horn section comprised of baritone sax (the same one Lisa Simpson plays), trombone, tenor and alto saxophones and two trumpets along with a full drum set and percussions for all those latin-jazz beats. Again, this kind of shot is generic and can look great in an article about live music.

Setting Up

We can’t talk about musicians without including gear, axes, equipment, instruments, sheet music, microphones etc. See what I mean here:


Musicians spend a lot of dineros on equipment, just like others buy big boats or cottages. It’s that serious! The amount can get a bit out of hand; ask any musician about the endless upgrades, repairs, flight cases, yet another guitar (You should hear the tremolo!) they say as they string the new Gibson or Fender, while the drummers are replacing skins and buying yet more sticks and just another cymbal (I promise).

Talking of drummers, those expert equipment movers of the backbeat kind. Also, let’s not forget the piano/keyboard players who show up with 3 keyboards and heavy amps. Yet, on another front, check out the horn players. They show up with the horn/horns and that’s it, while keys and drums are doing a 30-minute setup. Fair, of couse it is! You chose the axe, you move it and play it!

Meet the Players

I’ve been photographing musicians for many years and now would like to present a few players and bands you should see while in Ottawa. First up, are the horn players. They show up to play, and that’s just what they do. When you’ve heard a 7-piece horn section blowing syncopated rifts at incredible speeds, all you say is, so that’s how it sounds! Meet some players here:


Meet the guys who can blow hard without running out of breath and busting brain veins. Featuring, from top left to right: Mark Ferguson trombone, René Lavoie, saxes, Chris Lane, trumpet, Dave Arthur, trombone and the (late) Bob Langley on Tuba. From bottom left to right, Brian Asselin on baritone sax, Dave Arthur, trombone (Dave is also an accomplished bassist),  and Mike Tremblay, sax. Note that these horn players can be seen playing with many Ottawa bands and orchestras, from the RCMP to the Latin-Jazz sounds of “Los Gringos”. You can catch them playing in churches as easily as the Art Centre. True professionals!


Drums/Vocals – I’d like to take a moment and feature specific musicians and friends. Peter Beaudoin. A drummer/Backup singer so busy playing, that he keeps 2  drum kits on hand for the unexpected extra gig. He and other musicians sometimes work 2 engagements in a day. He is leader of the Los Gringos 9-piece Latin-Jazz band. You can also see him with Sherri Harding & Soul Revival, at Fatboys Southern Smokehouse in Ottawa on Sundays, from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. See Peter in action here:


Piano/Keyboards/Vocals – Meet Ian Clyne, an Ottawa piano/keyboard player and vocalist. You can see him with Ottawa bands such as “The Yohawks” and “Sherri Harding & Soul Revival” on Sundays at FATBOYS Southern Smokehouse. Note, no bass player on the job, so he plays left-hand bass in this band and says it keeps him thinking on his toes.


You can also listen to Ian while dining at “Sterling” restaurant, in Gatineau on Fri and Sat evenings. A fine player/singer, I’m proud to say he was my BestMan in 1978. See a sampling of the musicians photo collection.

Guitar & Bass – While at the “Ottawa Jazz Festival” I was lucky enough to catch Steve Groves on guitar, and Tom Denison on bass. These guys love to play, and are good at it! They’re featured in many bands across the city. Note: You may also see Tom playing drums. He is accomplished in both instruments. The Jazz Festival in Ottawa has slowly been showcasing local musicians. There was a time when Ottawa musicians just could not get on the roster. It took years but now we can enjoy our own musicians at this important venue. See them doing what they do best.


Guitar – Say hi to Gino Scaffidi, a fine professional Ottawa guitarist. I saw him today  for the matinee with Sherri Harding and Soul Revival at FatBoys on Murray. He also plays with a few more bands in the Capital. I played with Gino in the 70s when he was the trumpet player in the White Ginger band. If you get a chance, hear him play “Here Comes The Sun” by the Beatles. Gino is one sweet guitar player.


Saxophone – Featuring an Ottawa saxophonist/flutist. René Lavoie is a seasoned musician, and you can tell from the first note. I had the pleasure of playing with René in the “Paul Demers” band during the 80’s. We played festivals and Paul took us to France for Francofolie, TV and radio spots. Got to know René and found out he’s an avid fisherman. You know it when René takes a solo – plays like he owns it, with a touch of  blues/jazz flavours, he’s a joy to listen to. Ask René about our stop at a sunflower farm and (bees)! 😉 – you can see him playing with the “Pete Foret” band and jazz ensembles in the capital. Hope you get to listen to René soon!


Band Posters – Photographing musicians is just the first step. What they do with these photos is just as important. Many times, musicians want to produce posters for shows at the various clubs. Providing these designs is a service I offer. Here are two posters for the “Los Gringos” band. Coming up with new layouts is always a lot of fun. See below, these posters really help musicians promote their craft with clients, club owners and booking agencies. Have a look. These posters were a nice experience to create and the band is satisfied with the look and feel of the promotions.


Guitarist/Singer – Chris Antonik – I caught Toronto-based blues guitarist/singer Chris Antonik, at the Dawg FM Blues and RibFest in Calabogie. This guy came to play, and he respects the blues, with powerful vocals, it’s a great show. Catch him if you can!


I’ll leave you with this update and will add to the article as more musicians are available. Meanwhile, remember  – Live Music Is Always Best!

See more players in the musicians photo collection.

Thank you for visiting!



Tulips on Parliament Hill The West Block of Canada 7 Year Parliament Project – Politically Speaking Canada in One Photo Design and ImagingHaunted CastleNight ShotsHey That’s My ImageMy Canadian Pride Is ShowingCanada Day on Parliament HillImages in Color and in Stereo


1 thought on “Live Music is Always Best

    OCT. 5

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s