Giovanni Piesco’s photographs of Tristan Honsinger

September 9th, 2023

 

.

.

.

…..I was contacted recently by the Amsterdam-based photographer Giovanni Piesco, who informed me of the August 5, 2023 passing of the free jazz cellist and performance artist Tristan Honsinger.  He was 73 years old.

…..I don’t claim to know a ton about Honsinger other than that he collaborated with the pianist Cecil Taylor and the guitarist Derek Bailey.  He recorded several times with Taylor in the years 1988 – 2003, notably The Hearth, a 1988 album that the Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings cites as a “particularly brilliant example of Taylor’s adaptive capabilities and his partners’ own contributions,” and which the esteemed critic Gary Giddins called “a romantic effusion, occasionally discursive and consistently beguiling.”

…..Critics and fans of Honsinger describe him as a brilliant virtuoso, a “bony, frenetic, bemusedly Stan Laurel-like [who],” according to The Guardian’s John Fordham, “travelled the world’s jazz and improvisation roads for more than four decades, leaving vivid memories of his virtuosity and inventiveness wherever he went. Maybe along the way, he even inadvertently helped tighten the rules whereby writers could justify hauling out the word ‘inimitable.'”

…..So, clearly Honsinger was an eccentric, accomplished, unique individual.  But this post isn’t meant to dig into Honsinger’s career in depth.  For that I recommend you start with a visit to Fordham’s obituary of him in The Guardian (which you can read by clicking here).  This post is more about sharing my discovery of Piesco’s photography through his soulful bond with Honsinger, as he tells in his own words within this photo exhibit.

Joe Maita

Editor/Publisher

.

.

All photos © Giovanni Piesco/taken at the Bimhuis in Amsterdam from 1995 to 2019.

.

.

___

.

.

I met him for the first time in the café De Engelbewaarder on the Kloveniersburgwal 59 right in the heart of Amsterdam. It hosts jam sessions every Sunday afternoons. David Murray, Archie Shepp and Woody Shaw, among the musicians who played there.

.

.

.

___

.

.

 

 

Sifting through my photographic archives these days of Tristan’s departure, I found material of some of his performances and a series of portraits, both caught on different occasions. As for the former, they concerned his appearance in music, theatre, dance, opera, poetry, spoken words and visual art.  Dadaistically, perplexing, playful, sober, unpredictable, all of them wildly combined together.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

___

.

.

 

 

From these portrait photos emerges a mystical note mixed with a secret of a life that is not at all ordinary. Each encounter was a surprise, full of radiant and intuitive elements on which to reflect.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

 

 

.

._

___

.

.

 

We were backstage after a performance, the creative tension and the music still vibrating in the concert hall, the charge of a pure, sincere and completely natural energy to be absorbed with both hands.

.

.

 

.

.

.

___

.

.

.
Born in Casoria, Naples, Italy, Giovanni Piesco’s photography portfolio constitutes a moving kaleidoscopic vision of the human race. All the faces in the ‘People’, ‘Untouchable Caste’ and ‘Portraits’ sections of his website reflect, through their eyes, a deep sense of humanity. They are inundated with smiles, laughter, crying, caring, love, hate, lust, blood and transpiration – full of the ironies associated with life and death – and become animated through the photographer’s eye, culminating in a Dantesque view of the world.

-Jon Eiselin

.

Click here to visit Piesco’s website, filled with countless photographs of musicians, politicians, places and events from around the world…

.

.

Watch a 2019 cello performance by Tristan Honsinger 

.

.

___

.

.

Click here to read The Sunday Poem

Click here for information about how to submit your art, poetry or short fiction

Click here to subscribe to the (free) Jerry Jazz Musician quarterly newsletter

Click here to help support the ongoing publication of Jerry Jazz Musician, and to keep it commercial-free (thank you!)

.

___

.

Jerry Jazz Musician…human produced (and AI-free) since 1999

.

.

all photos © Giovanni Piesco

.

.

.

Share this:

Comment on this article:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

In This Issue

"Nina" by Marsha Hammel
A Collection of Jazz Poetry — Winter, 2024 Edition...One-third of the Winter, 2024 collection of jazz poetry is made up of poets who have only come to my attention since the publication of the Summer, 2023 collection. What this says about jazz music and jazz poetry – and this community – is that the connection between the two art forms is inspirational and enduring, and that poets are finding a place for their voice within the pages of this website. (Featuring the art of Marsha Hammel)

The Sunday Poem

photo by Mel Levine/pinelife, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
“Lady Day and Prez” by Henry Wolstat

Click here to read previous editions of The Sunday Poem

Poetry

Proceeding From Behind: A collection of poems grounded in the rhythmic, relating to the remarkable, by Terrance Underwood...A relaxed, familiar comfort emerges from the poet Terrance Underwood’s language of intellectual acuity, wit, and space – a feeling similar to one gets while listening to Monk, or Jamal, or Miles. I have long wanted to share his gifts as a poet on an expanded platform, and this 33-poem collection – woven among his audio readings, music he considers significant to his story, and brief personal comments – fulfills my desire to do so.

Publisher’s Notes

photo by Rhonda Dorsett
A very brief three-dot update…Where I’ve been, and an update on what is coming up on Jerry Jazz Musician

Poetry

Photographer uncredited, but the photo was almost certainly taken by Chuck Stewart. Published by ABC/Impulse! Records.. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
“And I’m Not Even Here” – a poem by Connie Johnson

Click here to read more poetry published on Jerry Jazz Musician

Essay

"Lester Leaps In" by Tad Richards
"Jazz and American Poetry," an essay by Tad Richards...In an essay that first appeared in the Greenwood Encyclopedia of American Poetry in 2005, Tad Richards - a prolific visual artist, poet, novelist, and nonfiction writer who has been active for over four decades – writes about the history of the connection of jazz and American poetry.

Interview

photo of Pepper Adams/courtesy of Pepper Adams Estate
Interview with Gary Carner, author of Pepper Adams: Saxophone Trailblazer...The author speaks with Bob Hecht about his book and his decades-long dedication to the genius of Pepper Adams, the stellar baritone saxophonist whose hard-swinging bebop style inspired many of the top-tier modern baritone players.

Click here to read more interviews published on Jerry Jazz Musician

Poetry

Three poets and Sketches of Spain

Interview

IISG, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Interview with Judith Tick, author of Becoming Ella Fitzgerald: The Jazz Singer Who Transformed American Song...The author discusses her book, a rich, emotionally stirring, exceptional work that explores every element of Ella’s legacy in great depth, reminding readers that she was not only a great singing artist, but also a musical visionary and social activist.

Trading Fours with Douglas Cole

Trading Fours with Douglas Cole is an occasional series of the writer’s poetic interpretations of jazz recordings and film. This edition is influenced by Stillpoint, the 2021 album by Zen practitioner Barrett Martin

Review

Jason Innocent, on “3”, Abdullah Ibrahim’s latest album... Album reviews are rarely published on Jerry Jazz Musician, but Jason Innocent’s experience with the pianist Abdullah Ibrahim’s new recording captures the essence of this artist’s creative brilliance.

Short Fiction

Christerajet, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Short Fiction Contest-winning story #64 — “The Old Casino” by J.B. Marlow...The author's award-winning story takes place over the course of a young man's life, looking at all the women he's loved and how the presence of a derelict building informs those relationships.

Click here to read more short fiction published on Jerry Jazz Musician

Book Excerpt

Book excerpt from Jazz with a Beat: Small Group Swing 1940 – 1960, by Tad Richards

Click here to read more book excerpts published on Jerry Jazz Musician

Poetry

"Jazz Trio" by Samuel Dixon
A collection of jazz haiku, Vol. 2...The 19 poets included in this collection effectively share their reverence for jazz music and its culture with passion and brevity.

Jazz History Quiz #170

photo of Dexter Gordon by Brian McMillen
This bassist played with (among others) Charlie Parker, Erroll Garner, Nat King Cole and Dexter Gordon (pictured), was one of the earliest modern jazz tuba soloists, and was the only player to turn down offers to join both Duke Ellington’s Orchestra and the Louis Armstrong All-Stars. Who is he?

Community

photo via Picryl.com
.“Community Bookshelf, #2"...a twice-yearly space where writers who have been published on Jerry Jazz Musician can share news about their recently authored books. This edition includes information about books published within the last six months or so…

Contributing Writers

Click the image to view the writers, poets and artists whose work has been published on Jerry Jazz Musician, and find links to their work

Coming Soon

An interview with Tad Richards, author of Jazz With a Beat: Small Group Swing, 1940 - 1960;  an interview with Laura Flam and Emily Sieu Liebowitz, authors of But Will You Love Me Tomorrow? An Oral History of the 60's Girl Groups;  a new collection of jazz poetry; a collection of jazz haiku; a new Jazz History Quiz; short fiction; poetry; photography; interviews; playlists; and lots more in the works...

Interview Archive

Eubie Blake
Click to view the complete 22 year archive of Jerry Jazz Musician interviews, including those recently published with Richard Carlin and Ken Bloom on Eubie Blake (pictured); Richard Brent Turner on jazz and Islam; Alyn Shipton on the art of jazz; Shawn Levy on the original queens of standup comedy; Travis Atria on the expatriate trumpeter Arthur Briggs; Kitt Shapiro on her life with her mother, Eartha Kitt; Will Friedwald on Nat King Cole; Wayne Enstice on the drummer Dottie Dodgion; the drummer Joe La Barbera on Bill Evans; Philip Clark on Dave Brubeck; Nicholas Buccola on James Baldwin and William F. Buckley; Ricky Riccardi on Louis Armstrong; Dan Morgenstern and Christian Sands on Erroll Garner; Maria Golia on Ornette Coleman.

Site Archive