Synopses & Reviews
Since the 1950s, Herman Leonard's photographs of jazz musicians have been crucial in shaping the image of the music and the world in which it was created. Leonard's friendships with jazz greats such as Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis gave him rare access to the innovators who made modern jazz and the places in which they made it. Leonard took his camera into the smoky clubs and after-hours sessions, to backstage parties and musicians' apartments, to build an incomparable visual record of one of the twentieth century's most significant art forms. His luminous images of Charlie Parker, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, and many others, both in performance and "off duty," are at once supreme examples of the photographer's art and a unique record of a musical revolution. For this definitive collection of his work, Leonard has retrieved scores of previously unseen photographs, published here for the first time, alongside his most famous and widely recognized images. Accompanied by an essay exploring the stories behind the pictures, and an interview with Leonard revealing his techniques, Jazz captures and preserves the glory days of the music that has been called "the sound of surprise."
From Charlie Parker and Duke Ellington to Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald, one of the greatest jazz photographers of all time delivers an incomparable collection of rarely seen images of some of the genre's immortals.
About the Author
Herman Leonard was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, in 1923. He moved to New York City in 1948 and opened his first studio in Greenwich Village, where he worked for Life, Esquire, and Playboy while recording the jazz scene. In 1989, Leonard settled in New Orleans, living there until Hurricane Katrina destroyed his home, studio, and print collection in 2005. He now lives and works in California. In 2008, Leonard was the recipient of a Lucie award-the photography world's equivalent of the Oscars—for Outstanding Achievement in Portraiture, as well as the Grammy Foundation's first grant award to a photographer.
Reggie Nadelson, journalist and film-maker, is the author of eight novels. Her nonfiction book about Dean Reed, Comrade Rockstar, is being filmed by Tom Hanks and Dreamworks. She divides her time between London and New York.
Leslie Woodhead is a documentary film maker and lifelong jazz fanatic. He made the film Saving Jazz in New Orleans with Herman Leonard.