Masters of Jazz Photography — Carole Reiff


Louis Armstrong, 1954

by Carole Reiff


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: Carole Reiff



Carole Reiff
1934 – 1984


Carole Reiff was born in New York City in 1934, the daughter of illustrator and photographer Hal Reiff.  She graduated from the High School of Music and Art and studied at the Art Students League.  Reiff began photographing while still in her teens.  She discovered jazz and quickly found it the ideal subject to photograph.  Using the twin-lens Rolleiflex camera her father gave her, she gained remarkable access to jazz clubs and concert halls as well as recording studios, rehearsal lofts, and all-night jam sessions.  Her style was unique:  Sharp focus was often sacrificed for the perfectly captured moment.  Reiff freelanced for many recording companies and magazines.  Beginning in the 1960s, Reff worked almost exclusively in advertising.  She died in 1984 at age fifty; the following year a compilation of her photography, Nights in Birdland, was published.


Horace Silver and band, 1958



Charles Mingus, 1956



Chet Baker, c. 1955


Miles Davis, 1957


Zoot Sims, Chet Baker, 1955


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