Masters of Jazz Photography — Bob Parent

Masters of Jazz Photography

The great improvisational American jazz musicians of the mid-20th century inspired a generation of photographers to develop a looser, moodier style of visual expression. That evocative approach is on striking display in The Jazz Image: Masters of Jazz Photography. Covering six decades of performers — from Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington to John Coltrane and Miles Davis — this unique collection is as much a comprehensive catalogue of jazz greats as it is a salute to the photographers who captured them.

The late Lee Tanner was a leading authority on jazz photography. For this book, Tanner selected works — by such noted jazz photographers as Herman Leonard, Bob Willoughby, Milt Hinton, and Bill Claxton — that are iconic, candid, explosive, and intimate. They provide a simultaneous look at jazz, photography, and America from 1935 into the 1990s.#


Jerry Jazz Musician presents a number of editions of “Master of Jazz Photography,” featuring a work by one of the photographers featured in The Jazz Image.


This edition: Bob Parent







Benny Goodman with pianist Teddy Wilson in New York, 1956



Modern Jazz Quartet

Birdland, New York
November, 1954


Clifford Brown

Basin Street East, New York
December, 1955


Billie Holiday

New York Jazz Fest, New York
August, 1957


Lester Young

New York Jazz Fest, New York
August, 1956



Visit the Bob Parent Archive







Robert Parent was born in 1923 in a suburb of Boston. He became involved in the Boston jazz scene while he worked as a draftsman and studied mechanical engineering at night. It was not until 1945 that Parent began to take photography seriously. His first camera was a 4×5 Speed Graphic used with a flash held at arm’s length to simulate club lighting. In 1951, after a tour in the army, he moved to New York to attend art school, determined to make it as a painter. But he never gave up his love affair with jazz and jazz photography. His pictures were regular features in Down Beat and Metronome, and he designed LP jackets for small independent recording companies. During the 1960s Parent turned to social and political photojournalism. He was still active in 1987, when he died at age sixty-three. His nephew, Dale Parent, serves as his archivist and is planning a book of the photographer’s best images. He also maintains a website of Parent’s photography,




About the Author


Lee Tanner photographed jazz musicians for nearly half a century. His photographs have appeared in Down Beat, Jazz Times, American Photo, and Popular Photography, on the covers of many record albums, and in several books.


Masters of Jazz Photography index


# Text from the publisher