That jazz, like every form of music, is a visual art should be too obvious to require any reaffirmation. The sight of jazz, or more specifically of jazz performers, sometimes seems virtually inseparable from the sound of the music. Jazz historians have often pointed out, with obvious regret, that only one photograph exists of the near-legendary Buddy Bolden; or that precious little film footage exists on Art Tatum, Charlie Parker and too many other giants who in their day were underappreciated to the point where few photographers or sound-equipped motion picture cameramen took the trouble to preserve them for posterity.
The term “the art of jazz photography” is a misnomer; a better phrase would be “photography devoted to jazz musicians by photographers who love and understand jazz.” That, of course, is one of several ways in which one can characterize William Claxton.
Many of the men and women we find here have long since left us; others are happily still an active part of the scene these days, looking for the most part appreciably different from the way they appeared to Claxton’s cameras two or three decades ago.
Here, then, are the visual experiences of the young photographer to be shared—a lifetime of listening and looking, mirroring the jazz musician’s art in his own.
NUMBER OF WORKS: 89 photographs
TOUR DATES: September 1998 - June 2002
PUBLICATION: Publication, Chronicle Books, 1996