My California friend Bill went to the most recent Sacramento JAZZ JUBILEE and captured these moments on film for the blog, as he so generously did last year.
A word about Bill (who deserves more); one of the gratifying things about jazz is the deep friendships it makes possible between people who wouldn’t otherwise meet. Bill and I first encountered each other perhaps fifteen years ago (by mail) as people sharing an interest in jazz royalty — in particular, Sir Charles Thompson. Then we discovered our mutual fascination with Teddy Wilson, with stride piano, and on and on. Bill and I live on opposite coasts, and we’ve only met face-to-face once (over an Italian dinner in New York City, with Bill’s lively wife Sandy) — but we email almost daily, and we’re as good friends as can be.
Bill is a fine writer (you can read his reviews in the IAJRC Journal) as well as a meticulous discographer, who’s created a Thompson discography online and one of the fine pianist Eddie Higgins (in print).
And Bill is one of this blog’s unpaid correspondents — in fact, he heads the California bureau — even though I haven’t found a way to offer health benefits or personal days. Maybe at the next contract negotiation? Until then, just enjoy his photographs.
Vince Bartels, Jennifer Leitham, Eddie Higgins
Two Allreds (Bill and John) and a Metz (Ed., Jr.) on trombones and drums
Where it all took place
Posted in "Thanks A Million", Ideal Places, Irreplaceable, Pay Attention!, Swing You Cats!, The Heroes Among Us, The Real Thing, The Things We Love
Tagged Bill Gallagher, Eddie Higgins, jazz blog, jazz friendships, Jazz Lives, Jennifer Leitham, Michael Steinman, Sandy Gallagher, Sir Charles Thompson, Stride piano, Teddy Wilson, Vince Bartels, William J. Gallagher
I had never heard of Nina Leen until I found her wonderful photographs of jazz musicians printed in LIFE in 1944.
Vic Dickenson, Eddie Heywood, perhaps Lem Davis
Mildred Bailey, wistful
Gene Krupa, in the moment!
Jess Stacy, dapper as always
Ed Hall at Cafe Society, with Mouse Randolph and Johnny Williams
Charles Ellsworth Russell, "the Pied Piper of Jazz"
Those photographs are so alive that they made me wonder if Ms. Leen was a pioneering jazz photographer I had never heard of. That isn’t the case: she was simply another great professional, specializing in different species, as her New York Times obituary points out:
Nina Leen Is Dead; A Photographer
January 5, 1995
Nina Leen, one of the first female photographers for Life magazine, died on Sunday at her home in New York City. Ms. Leen was secretive about her age, but Alison Hart, a press agent for Life, said she was believed to be in her late 70’s or early 80’s. Ms. Leen photographed many subjects but was best known for her pictures of animals. Among her 15 books were two studies of bats, published in the 1970’s. To make the pictures for these books, she used special cameras and lighting and overcame an aversion to the animals. One of her most famous images is a 1950 photograph of the Abstract Expressionist artists known as the Irascibles, including Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman and Jackson Pollock. Ms. Leen was married for many years to Serge Balkin, a fashion photographer. No immediate family members survive.
(Like bats, jazz musicians are nocturnal by nature — but which series of portraits came first? Which fascination inspired the other?)
Posted in "Thanks A Million", Ideal Places, Irreplaceable, Jazz Titans, Pay Attention!, Swing You Cats!, The Real Thing, The Things We Love
Tagged Barnett Newman, bats, Eddie Heywood, Irascibles, Jackson Pollock, jazz photographs, Lem Davis, LIFE, Mark Rothko, Mildred Bailey, Nina Leen, nocturnal species, Pee Wee Russell, PeeWee Russell, Serge Balkin, the Pied Piper of Jazz, women photographer