Jay Dorfman

Jay Dorfman

Playing an outdoor concert in Holland c. 1971

Like the others in Sweet Smoke, I was born in Brooklyn and grew up during the hippie era. It was a very exciting time to be alive, especially in New York where you could hear all kinds of music, see all kinds of people and experience just about anything. I’ve always had a strong creative streak and around 1965 it was music, and percussion in particular, that caught my attention. While in High School I met Marvin with whom I started my first band, the Madabouts. Before too long Andy and Mike left the bands they were playing in at the time and Sweet Smoke was born. My earliest influence was Ringo Starr. There were other drummers who were technically better but for me there was no one more creative. Much of the signature sound on early Beatles recordings came from the unique way that Ringo played simple drum beats.

All You Need is Love – and a Little Ice Cream

During the summer of 1967, aka “The Summer of Love”, to supplement our income from gigging,   Marvin and I peddled ice cream in a Carvel store in Manhattan’s trendy Greenwich Village. I remember many hot summer nights, day glo painted hippies standing six deep, eyes glassy, giggling non-stop, nervously waiting to satisfy an uncontrollable craving for ice cream. It wasn’t uncommon to look up and see Bob Dylan or Frank Zappa or John Sebastian along with other members of the Lovin’ Spoonful in the crowd. They all had regular gigs in nearby Greenwich Village coffee houses. During our shift we would keep the radio on non-stop. Whenever a Beatles song came on, “All You Need is Love” in particular, we would simply stop working, bow our heads in reverence and just listen. After a while the regular customers got it and they would put their craving on hold and join us. Crazy times!

Post Europe

MTV Networks

I was one of a handful of early staffers at MTV

After returning from Europe in the late 1970’s [read the Sweet Smoke story], I continued my studies and earned a masters degree in fine art. By the early 80’s I was enticed by the world of the moving image and landed a job with a start up company that was planning to launch a video network. The network was MTV and I became one of a handful of early staffers who designed and orchestrated the early marketing and launch of the MTV Networks. Over the next several decades I refined my skills in TV production, directing and writing and eventually started my own production company.

Around the World

Kumbh Mela

Kumbh Mela, the largest religious gathering in the world

Since those early years, I have traveled around the world and have had so many amazing and life changing experiences. I shot a documentary for the Salvation Army in Zimbabwe, shot in Cuba, Israel, China, and returned last year from 2 weeks in India filming and photographing the Kumbh Mela, the largest religious gathering in the world. My demo reel has projects for such diverse clients as Martha Stewart, Tiffany & Co., Johnson & Johnson, Sports Illustrated, MTV, ESPN, The list goes on and on.

In the last decade I’ve picked up a still camera and at the moment it is my greatest passion. I believe the photo and canvas are there to be interpreted so I explore approaches that may be viewed as a mix between photojournalism and photo impressionism. I attempt to bring the paper, canvas and surface to a place that reflects the emotional presence of the moment as I originally came upon it.

These Days

You can find out more about me and what I’m up to on facebook and at the following sites:

Woodstock Over 40 Years Later

Woodstock 40 Years Later