Through Cats’ Eyes: Saxophonist Brian Settles’ intimate, evocative images of Brookland D.C.

Editor’s note: This article is part of a recurring series highlighting D.C. musicians who double as photographers, part of a long tradition in jazz that has included legends like Milt Hinton, Oscar Peterson and Sy Johnson. You can find other entries in the series here.

Brian Settles is a saxophonist, composer and photographer who has called the Brookland neighborhood of D.C. his home for nearly his entire life. As a bandleader, Settles uncovers possibilities in sound with power and clarity. As an accompanist, he provides fire and uplift in equal measure.

A veteran of bands by world-renowned artists such as Jason Moran and Tomas Fujiwara, Settles is a constant presence as a mentor and leader within many D.C. jazz spaces, from Rhizome to Green Island and beyond.

Of his photo essay, Settles writes:

“The photos presented here are from my walks throughout Brookland, of which I am a native. Brookland is an historic neighborhood in D.C., once home to poet Sterling Brown and Jazz legend Shirley Horn, among others. It is a beautiful, walkable neighborhood with a rich history. During the pandemic I started taking extended walks around the neighborhood, photographing objects or scenes that caught my eye. I hope you enjoy this peek at one of my favorite places, anywhere.”

All photos and captions by Brian Settles, for CapitalBop.

Self Portrait
Sterling Brown House
Halloween in Brookland
Stroll (Motorcycle)
Stroll (Nuns)
Stroll (No Littering)
Stroll (No Ball Playing)
Stroll (United Fence)
Stroll (Brookland Vintage Cars)
Casey Trees/Billie Holiday (JACS Mural) Double Exposure
Franciscan Monastery



About Abram Mamet

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Abram Mamet, CapitalBop's assistant editor, is a musician and writer living in Mt. Rainier, MD. You can hear him on French horn leading a jam session every Wednesday at metrobar in NE D.C.

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