Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Herman Leonard's Photography: Smoke!

Lester Young's hat by Herman Leonard

In 1948, 25 years-old photographer, Herman Leonard, was spending his evenings at the Royal Roost and then Birdland where he photographed the ongoing roster of jazz musicians such as Dexter Gordon, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis and others. Later he worked for jazz producer Norman Granz, who used his work on album sleeves. Obsessed with smoke, as jazz was a fading cloud of smoke in the air, or notes were spreading like a thick smog, cigarettes were his main motif during the sessions. These photos come from Herman's early days.

Sonny Stitt, 1953, NYC

Thelonious Monk, 1948-49, NYC

James Moody, 1951, NYC

Charlie Parker and the Metronome All-stars, 1949, NYC

Erroll Garner, 1953, NYC

Frank Sinatra, 1958, Monte CarloSinatra, again.

Lady Day, 1949, NYC

Billy Eckstine, 1963, Paris

Dexter Gordon, 1948 , NYC

Herman Leonard in person. A recent photo.
All photos are copyrighted by artist. You may visit his homepage here.

1 comment:

  1. The charismatic, ever young hip Herman Leonard gifted me a treasured shot of Al playing the piano with Tommy Potter behind him and Stan Getz in front. I treasured his generosity when his photographs are priced as are oil paintings. Once he knew I was a "wife no one knew" writing about Al he surprised me. He looks wonderful.

    Grange Lady Haig Rutan = Author
    Cadence Jazz Books
    Official Biography of Jazz Master of the Piano AL HAIG