Masters of Jazz Photography — Hugh Bell

Sarah Vaughan, 1955

by Hugh Bell


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.

Lee Tanner was a leading authority on jazz photography.  He 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.#


In honor of the late Mr. Tanner, 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: Hugh Bell


Hugh Bell
1927 – 2012


Hugh Bell was born in New York City in 1927. He graduated from New York University in 1950. Long interested in jazz, he started shooting the music scene in Greenwich Village while during the day he pursued a career in advertising and fashion photography. A background in documentary films led him to focus on picture stories, capturing passionate images of boxers, dancers, and actors, as well as travel spreads. His jazz pictures have been included in several shows and books, including the monumental 1955 photography exhibition The Family of Man, curated by Edward Steichen, at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. His work is also featured in K. Abe’s classic book of photographs, Jazz Giants: A Visual Perspective.



Charlie Parker and bassist Teddy Kotick in New York, 1952



Brew Moore, 1953


Billie Holiday, 1957


“Mambo at the Palladium,” 1966



 Duke Ellington, 1973



 Dizzy Gillespie, 1980

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. 


# Text from the publisher