Many are familiar with Kansas City’s rich history of jazz, but this photography exhibit reveals the remarkable live music scene brewing in the 18th and Vine District. The exhibition, titled KC Swing: Jazz Photography by Diallo Javonne French, features black and white photographs that channel the rhythm and intensity of live performances.
Local photographer and filmmaker Diallo Javonne French may be best known for his short films, but his photography talent is building the momentum of his career. Diallos’ photographs evoke our city’s historic jazz scene clout while capturing the energy and spirit of many contemporary musicians. The majority of the photographs were shot at The Blue Room, a jazz club that features local and national musicians, and The Mutual Musicians Foundation, the oldest continual running jazz house in the world.
The exhibit also includes new poetry by Glenn North, Poet-in-Residence at the American Jazz Museum. North’s work is a personal response to six of French’s photographs. The text not only adds a wealth of context to the images, but provides an imaginative insiders view.
“We are very excited that Diallo and Glenn will be sharing their work with downtown workers and residents,” stated Robin Trafton, gallery director. “We hope this show will inspire our visitors to catch a jazz performance, visit the Jazz Museum, and explore the music scene at 18th and Vine.”
The opening reception event features live jazz music by Eddie Moore & The Outer Circle.
About Diallo Javonne French
Born in Kansas City, Diallo Javonne French started his career as a musician. He began his filmmaking and photography career when he bought an 8mm camera from a pawn shop. Diallo moved to Atlanta, Georgia in the early 1990s and attended Clark Atlanta University to major in Mass Communications, Radio/TV/Film. While attending school, he worked as a production assistant on several music videos that included artists like TLC, Outkast, Goodie Mob, Xscape, Raven Symone, Usher, and director Hype Williams.
French’s photography has been exhibited locally including the American Jazz Museum and was purchased by Hallmark Cards for a greeting card project.
Also on display at The Box Gallery will be French’s short film, titled May This Be Love, which tells the story of a young couple’s relationship as they experience and explore their spiritual togetherness. The short took first place in the 2007 Atlanta Urban Mediamakers Film Festival and was featured on the BET show “Lens On Talent” in 2009. The film was also included in the Spaghetti Junction Urban Film Festival, Kansas City Urban Film Festival, and the Urban Film Series. French writes feature length scripts and has directed several short films.