Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Originally aired on January 17, 2008.
Tom Fudge : Jazz music has some unique tonal and rhythmic aspects. But it also has a visual aspect: the shape of the instruments, the eyes and the posture of the musicians, and a visual aesthetic that's been captured by some very good photographers. When we say this, maybe you think of the images on the old Blue Note record jackets. Or maybe you think of the photographs of Herman Leonard.
Now, if you're saying, "Herman Leonard? Who's that?” That's okay. But guess what? You've probably seen his photographs. In the Forties, the Fifties and beyond, he took thousands of photographs of America's greatest jazz musicians. You name one, and you can bet Herman has photographed him or her. His jazz photographs are clear, usually black and white, and they are lit with a light that seems to bring an ethereal beauty to his subjects.
- Herman Leonard , working photographer since the 1940's. A collection of his work is housed at the Smithsonian and a retrospective of his work can be found in a book called Jazz, Giants, and Journeys: The Photography of Herman Leonard.