Art » Masters of Jazz Photography

Masters of Jazz Photography — Tad Hershorn

Count Basie and Ella Fitzgerald
San Antonio, 1979

Photo by Tad Hershorn




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: Tad Hershorn




photo by Ed Berger



Tad Hershorn, an archivist at Rutgers University’s Institute of Jazz Studies, began photographing jazz in Dallas in 1969 when he was fifteen years old.  “Miles Davis was in the first frame of jazz I ever shot,” he recalled.  “I arrived late, didn’t hear him introduced, and was not exactly sure who it was.  My musical education was just beginning.”  During his career as a journalist for Texas newspapers, Hershorn also took photography and writing assignments for music publications.  Hist photographs have also appeared on album covers for major record labels.  Hershorn earned master’s degrees in American history and library and archives.  He joined IJS in 1999, where he produces an award-winning series of Web documentaries on jazz artists, the “Jazz Greats Digital Exhibits“. 

(Biography written by Lee Tanner in 2006, as it appears in The Jazz Image.   Hershorn has subsequently published Norman Granz:  The Man Who Used Jazz for Justice).









Anita O’Day





Norman Granz, 1987





Art Blakey, 1989




Benny Carter




Miles Davis, 1990















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

Read our interview with Lee Tanner

Remembering Lee Tanner