(More of) “A Great Day in Harlem”

An iconic image of music history is Art Kane’s August 12, 1958 photograph of 57 of the music’s most important (and now beloved) figures in jazz music, who congregated on the curb and stairs at 17 East 126th Street, between Fifth and Madison Avenue.

Forever known simply as “A Great Day in Harlem,” the photograph was taken, as John Leland reminds us in the September 28 edition of the New York Times, in the era when “the generation of Count Basie and Duke Ellington was yielding to the newer bebop players, who in turn were starting to be challenged by the next wave, not seen in this shot.”  Many in New York’s scene came that morning, among them Monk, Basie, Dizzy,

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October 3rd, 2018

William Gottlieb’s “Elusive Pianist”

Jazz photography has played an important role in the development of jazz, and, along with the art found on the record albums of the 1940’s – 60’s, is a visual window into the history of the culture.  The work of photographers like Herman Leonard, William Claxton and Lee Tanner impacted me pretty deeply, and led me deep into the record bins in search of the music they so effectively portrayed.  Leonard and Tanner, in fact, were major influences on my work on this site, and Tanner was indeed a personal mentor whose voice of encouragement remains in my head long after his 2013 passing.

Among the first interviews I ever did was in 1997 with William Gottlieb, best known as a

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June 1st, 2018

Masters of Jazz Photography: Susanne Schapowalow

In the 1940’s and 50’s, as her career as a freelance photographer was developing, German-born Susanne Schapowalow took intimate and brilliant photographs of jazz musicians in the hotel lobbies and jazz clubs of Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Paris and New York, and in concert settings like Jazz at the Philharmonic, German jazz festivals, and during Quincy Jones’ 1960 European tour.

Over thirty of these photographs – all apparently unpublished and featuring artists like Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Miles Davis, Nina Simone, Lester Young, and Bud Powell – reside in slide show form on a website devoted to her work, a collection described as a “rediscovered jazz life of a

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April 7th, 2018

Masters of Jazz Photography: Paul Hoeffler

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

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March 17th, 2018

Chick Corea at the Blue Note — photos by John McCluskey

Photographer, writer John McCluskey contributes these photographs he took while attending the Chick Corea show on Saturday, September 30 at the Blue Note in New York. 
 
“At the end of the performance Chick’s wife Gayle Moran joined them onstage and sang,” McCluskey wrote in his email to me.  “It was a very intimate scene with Chick and Gayle collaborating and exchanging

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October 3rd, 2017

Photographer Lee Santa’s “Journey Into Jazz”

In the introduction to his book Journey Into Jazz, photographer Lee Santa shares his earliest and fascinating experiences with jazz music…A sampling of his photographs follow.

 

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I’m not a musician. I’m not a music critic. And you’ll soon find out I’m not a writer. I am simply a fan of jazz who is also a photographer.

 

Though I didn’t know what it was called at the time, my earliest recollection of jazz was growing up in 1950s Indiana. My father had a couple of LP albums I liked listening to; one was by Stan Kenton and the other was the sound track from the film

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February 5th, 2017

“Royal Street, New Orleans, April 2016” — photos by John McCluskey

John McCluskey, a contributing poet to Jerry Jazz Musician, submitted six photographs of jazz musicians he took while recently visiting New Orleans. John writes that the shots were “deliberately processed…in the most colorful way possible to illustrate the sensibility of the performers.”

These photos feature musicians performing on Royal Street, New Orleans, in April 2016.

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September 29th, 2016

Masters of Jazz Photography — Ray Avery

In honor of the late jazz photographer Lee Tanner, Jerry Jazz Musician presents a number of editions of “Master of Jazz Photography,” featuring a work by one of the photographers featured in Tanner’s book The Jazz Image.



This edition: Ray Avery

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November 24th, 2015

“Such Sweet Thunder” — a boxed portfolio of classic jazz photographs by Herb Snitzer

I received an email yesterday from noted photographer (and friend) Herb Snitzer, who is announcing the distribution of “Such Sweet Thunder,” a boxed portfolio containing 10 of his finest iconic photographs. The collection of 16″ x 20″ silver gelatin prints includes photographs of artists like Louis Armstrong, Nina Simone, Miles Davis, and John Coltrane. Snitzer wrote that this portfolio is “a wonderful investment for children and grandchildren as the value increases with each passing year.” Originally valued at $1500, the collection is now worth

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November 4th, 2014

A Journey Into Jazz: Anecdotes, Notes and Photos of a Jazz Fan

Lee Santa, who calls himself “simply a fan of jazz who is also a photographer” and whose life has been “heavily influenced by jazz’s sounds, structures and impressions,” recently reached out to me via email, informing me that Roundbend Press has just released his collection of photographs, A Journey Into Jazz: Anecdotes, Notes and Photos of a Jazz Fan.

Along with his entertaining introduction to the book, Santa sent me several photographs from the book — all of which I have never seen before. For example, there is Ornette Coleman at Berkeley’s Greek Theater in the turbulent year of 1968, Pharoah Sanders at the Village Gate in 1970, Sam Rivers playing outdoors (maybe at the Jazz Festival?) in Portland, 1979, and one of Mose Allison in Seattle in 1988 (about the same time I recall seeing him at a club in Portland).

Santa’s background story is very cool, and is told in his introduction and in Terry Simons’ publisher’s note, both published here. At the end of Santa’s introduction, you will find several photos

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August 26th, 2014

Jazz: Through the Life and Lens of Milt Hinton — A Photo Exhibit

As a jazz musician for seven decades, and as a chronicler of its intellectual and spiritual development through his fascinating, award-winning photography, Milt Hinton acts as an essential connecting point for the music and its associated culture. Hinton played bass alongside iconic figures like Cab Calloway, Dizzy Gillespie, and Louis Armstrong, and, as a photographer, brought these men and a host of others into focus as musicians, artists, and vital contributors to twentieth-century American life.

With the generous consent of David G. Berger and Holly Maxson, who along with Milt Hinton co-authored Playing the Changes: Milt Hinton’s Life in Stories and Photographs, Jerry Jazz Musician presents a photo exhibit, “Jazz: Through the Life and Lens of Milt Hinton.”

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May 9th, 2014

The Photography of Carl Van Vechten

The publication of a new biography on Carl Van Vechten has sparked a renewed interest in his work. Critic, author and patron of many a Harlem Renaissance artist, Van Vechten was also an accomplished photographer, whose work was described by a New York Telegraph reporter in 1933 as “breathtaking…each [photo] with life and sparkle, vision and intelligence.”

His access to the artists led to a portfolio of what he called “purely documentary” photographs of a “who’s who” of early-to-mid 20th Century American cultural icons — including some of the era’s finest writers and musicians. Emily Bernard, author of Carl Van Vechten and the Harlem Renaissance writes that “Van Vechten always saw the act of taking a photograph as

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March 12th, 2014

In This Issue

This issue features a roundtable discussion about how the world of religion may have impacted the creative lives of Billie Holiday, Langston Hughes and Ralph Ellison. Also, previous winners of the Jerry Jazz Musician Short Fiction Contest reflect on their winning story; three new podcasts from Bob Hecht; new collection of poetry; recommendations of recently released jazz recordings, and lots more.

Short Fiction

"The Wailing Wall" -- a short story by Justin Short

Interviews

Three prominent religious scholars -- Wallace Best, Tracy Fessenden and M. Cooper Harriss -- join us in a conversation about how the world of religion during the life and times of Langston Hughes (pictured), Billie Holiday and Ralph Ellison helps us better comprehend the meaning of their work.

Poetry

Nine poets contribute ten poems celebrating jazz in poems as unique as the music itself

Short Fiction

In celebration of our upcoming 50th Short Fiction Contest, previous contest winners (dating to 2002) reflect on their own winning story, and how their lives have since unfolded.

The Joys of Jazz

In this edition, award winning radio producer Bob Hecht tells three stories; 1) on Charlie Christian, the first superstar of jazz guitar; 2) the poet Langston Hughes’ love of jazz music, and 3) a profile of the song “Strange Fruit”

On the Turntable

25 recently released jazz tunes that are worth listening to…including Bobo Stenson; Medeski, Martin and Wood; Muriel Grossman and Rudy Royston

Features

Chick Corea, Rickie Lee Jones, Gary Giddins, Michael Cuscuna, Randy Brecker and Tom Piazza are among those responding to our question, "What are 3 or 4 of your favorite jazz recordings of the 1940's?"

Poetry

"Billie Holiday" -- a poem (with collage) by Steve Dalachinsky

Coming Soon

Thomas Brothers, Duke University professor of music and author of two essential biographies of Louis Armstrong, is interviewed about his new book, HELP! The Beatles, Duke Ellington, and the Magic of Collaboration; also, Spelman College President Mary Schmidt Campbell, author of An American Odyssey: The Life and Work of Romare Bearden, in a conversation about the brilliant 20th Century artist

In the previous issue

This issue features an interview with Bing Crosby biographer Gary Giddins; a collection of poetry devoted to the World War II era; and a new edition of “Reminiscing in Tempo,” in which the question “What are 3 or 4 of your favorite jazz recordings of the 1940’s” is posed to Rickie Lee Jones, Chick Corea, Tom Piazza and others.

Contributing writers

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