JazzBook - 2010
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."