Blue Notes in Black and White Photography and Jazz

ISBN-10: 022610074X

ISBN-13: 9780226100746

Edition: 2013

Authors: Benjamin Cawthra

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Miles Davis, supremely cool behind his shades. Billie Holiday, eyes closed and head tilted back in full cry. John Coltrane, one hand behind his neck and a finger held pensively to his lips. These iconic images have captivated jazz fans nearly as much as the music has. Jazz photographs are visual landmarks in American history, acting as both a reflection and a vital part of African American culture in a time of immense upheaval, conflict, and celebration. Charting the development of jazz photography from the swing era of the 1930s to the rise of black nationalism in the ’60s, Blue Notes in Black and White is the first of its kind: a fascinating account of the partnership between two of the twentieth century’s most innovative art forms. Benjamin Cawthra introduces us to the great jazz photographers—including Gjon Mili, William Gottlieb, Herman Leonard, Francis Wolff, Roy DeCarava, and William Claxton—and their struggles, hustles, styles, and creative visions. We also meet their legendary subjects, such as Duke Ellington, sweating through a late-night jam session for the troops during World War II, and Dizzy Gillespie, stylish in beret, glasses, and goatee. Cawthra shows us the connections between the photographers, art directors, editors, and record producers who crafted a look for jazz that would sell magazines and albums. And on the other side of the lens, he explores how the musicians shaped their public images to further their own financial and political goals. This mixture of art, commerce, and racial politics resulted in a rich visual legacy that is vividly on display in Blue Notes in Black and White. Beyond illuminating the aesthetic power of these images, Cawthra ultimately shows how jazz and its imagery served a crucial function in the struggle for civil rights, making African Americans proudly, powerfully visible.
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Book details

List price: $30.00
Copyright year: 2013
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 11/20/2013
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 360
Size: 7.00" wide x 9.75" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.386
Language: English

Benjamin Cawthra is assistant professor of history and associate director of the Center for Oral and Public History at California State University, Fullerton.

Life Goes to a Jazz Party: Photography and the Politics of Swing
Setting the Stage: A Tale of Two Parties
"Swing," Segregations, and Peterson's Satchelmouth
Jammin' at Gjon's: Mili's Trio of Jazz Photo-Essays
Picturing Bebop: Dizzy Gillespie and the Postwar Jazz Image
Dizzy Gillespie, the Bebop Image, and Life
Jazz Seen and Unseen: William Gottlieb, Bebop, and Down Beat
Herman Leonard, Metronome, and the Iconography of Jazz
Jazz Man/Pop Star: The LP, Miles Davis, and the 1950s
Columbia, the LP, and Jazz
Miles Davis and the Art of the Album Cover
The Package Evolves: Porgy and Bess to Someday My Prince Will Come
Sonny Rollins and the Art of the Independent Record Labels
Jazz West Coast: William Claxton and the California Image
Sonny Rollins's Way Out West
Selling Hard Bop: Prestige, Blue Note, and Riverside
Roy DeCarava's Jazz: Fine Art, Black Art, and the 1960s
Edna Smith, The Family of Man, and The Sweet Flypaper of Life
A Photographer's Gallery, Kamoinge Workshop, and Race in Jazz
The Jazz Photographs: John Coltrane and The Sound I Saw
Coda: Dark Rooms, Open Spaces
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