Art » Masters of Jazz Photography

Masters of Jazz Photography — Chuck Stewart

Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis and Johnny Griffin
New York, 1960

Photo by Chuck Stewart


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: Chuck Stewart


chuck stewart


     Chuck Stewart was born in 1927 in Texas, but soon moved to Tucson, Arizona.  Music was an interest from an early age, but he was not naturally talented.  “Since I could not be a great musician,” Stewart explained, “I became a photographer.”  He received a BFA in photography from Ohio University, where Herman Leonard was a fellow classmate; Stewart described Leonard as his greatest photographic influence.  Leonard already had a studio in New York when Stewart graduated in 1949, and Stewart worked as Leonard’s assistant until he was drafted into the army in 1951 for a two-year tour as a combat photographer in Korea.  Stewart returned to New York in 1953 and became a staff photographer for the magazine Our World.  Then in 1955 Leonard called from Paris to say he was staying in Europe – and offered his studio and business to Stewart.  Stewart has since retired from day-to-day business.  His book Chuck Stewart’s Jazz Files spans three decades of the jazz scene.

stewart-coltraneJohn Coltrane, 1966


stewart-dolphyEric Dolphy, 1964



Quincy Jones


Betty Carter



Bill Evans


John and Alice Coltrane, 1966


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


Visit Chuck Stewart’s website

Read our interview with Lee Tanner

Remembering Lee Tanner