Masters of Jazz Photography: Paul Hoeffler

Lee Morgan at the piano, 1958




Photographer Paul Hoeffler, who studied with the likes of Ansel Adams, Alfred Eisenstadt, and Nancy Newhall, discovered an interest in photographing jazz musicians through his regular attendance at Rochester, New York jazz clubs the Pythodd, the Ridgecrest Inn, the Auditorium Theater, the Eastman Theater, and the University of Rochester auditoriums.  He cites Louis Armstrong as an early inspiration, and he subsequently photographed Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Billie Holiday, Chet Baker, Dave Brubeck and a variety of others during their tours through Rochester.  Hoeffler was often commissioned to do album covers for many of the major record companies of the era, including Verve, Prestige and Blue Note.

Classic examples of his brilliant work are found by doing a simple image search.  You can also get a sense for his artistry in his late 1950’s photographs of Art Blakey and his Messengers of the era — including trumpeter Lee Morgan, which can be viewed by clicking here.

A 12 minute film profile of Hoeffler, in which he talks about his career and his experience working with  Nat Cole, Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, and Duke Ellington, is also worth a look: