In the wake of the recent passing of Bill Claxton, we’d like to spotlight a photographer who almost single-handedly documented the L.A. experimental jazz scene in the 1970s and 1980s: Mark Weber Weber’s invaluable shots of the local scene recently were donated to the UCLA Special Collections Jazz Archive, alongside the photos of Howard Morehead, and found their way into Steven Isoardi’s 2006 book The Dark Tree: Jazz and the Community Arts in Los Angeles. There’s Horace Tapscott and Cecil Taylor talking backstage at the Lighthouse in 1979; the 1980 Nimbus West recording sessions for Linda Hill’s Lullaby for Linda with Tapscott, Arthur Blythe, Everett Brown Jr. and Robert Miranda; and our favorite: a shot from the legendary shows at the Century City Playhouse featuring Tapscott, Miranda, and some bearded hippie-ish white dude with long blonde hair and an African skullcap — wait a sec, that’s a 30-year-old ALEX CLINE!!!
Weber’s work has continued into the new millennium as an “outlaw poet,” publisher, composer and radio host from his new adopted home of “AlberZERXque“, New Mexico. Weber recently concluded a long interview with one of the founding fathers of L.A.’s free jazz scene, cornetist Bobby Bradford. Apparently, Weber went though all of Bradford’s 32 compositions and had the master describe the genesis and development of each. According to the buttle-scutt, Weber’s planning on donating his talk with Dr. Robert to the UCLA Jazz Archive. Wow. We’re drooling already! More on this as it “develops.” Ahem. Yes.