Monday, August 23, 2010

Ibiza Jazz Connections: Herman Leonard

Perhaps the world's most famous Jazz photographer, Herman Leonard, passed away this month aged 87. Even if you didn't know his name it's likely that his photographs were more than familiar.

His backlit, smoky, iconic portraits of Jazz stars across the decades capture the style, the ethos, the philosophy and the cool of the music and the musicians, not only at work, but at home, at rest, and at play. Miles, Ella, Duke, Quincy, Dizzy, Art, and Dexter all had the striking black and white treatment from Leonard and would grace any coffee table or lounge.

Quincy Jones once said ‘I used to tell cats that Herman Leonard did with his camera what we did with our instruments. Looking back across his career, I’m even more certain of the comparison: Herman’s camera tells the truth, and makes it swing. Musicians loved to see him around. No surprise; he made us look good.’

Here's a few samples of his work and the full selection can be seen on this website; Herman Leonard Exhibition and Sale in SoHo, NYC May 10-June 15, 2008

So what's the Ibiza connection?

Herman Leonard lived in Ibiza from 1980 until 1987 in which time he rediscovered his Jazz negatives and released his first book, The Eye of Jazz.

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