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The+Jazz+Image%3Cbr+%2F%3E+Seeing+Music+through+Herman+Leonard%27s+Photography

The Jazz Image
Seeing Music through Herman Leonard's Photography

By K. Heather Pinson

256 pages (approx.), 6 x 9 inches, 26 b&w illustrations, bibliography, appendices, index

978-1-60473-494-2 Cloth $50.00S

978-1-62846-051-3 Paper $30.00S

Cloth, $50.00

Paper, $30.00


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In 2014-2015 University Press of Mississippi is closed for the holidays Tuesday, December 23, and will reopen Monday, January 5, 2015. Orders sent by Paypal through Friday, December 12, at 11 a.m. Central will ship in time for Christmas. After December 12, customers desiring shipping before Christmas should call 1.800.737.7788 and ask for rush delivery. Please be prepared to pay extra for rapid shipping. Orders that come to our website through the holidays (December 23, 2014-January 2, 2015) will begin shipping on January 5, 2015.

How photographer Herman Leonard and others created the icon of the sophisticated, edgy jazz musician

Typically a photograph of a jazz musician has several formal prerequisites: black and white film, an urban setting in the mid-twentieth century, and a black man standing, playing, or sitting next to his instrument. That's the jazz archetype that photography created. Author K. Heather Pinson discovers how such a steadfast script developed visually and what this convention meant for the music.

Album covers, magazines, books, documentaries, art photographs, posters, and various other visual extensions of popular culture formed the commonly held image of the jazz player. Through assimilation, there emerged a generalized composite of how mainstream jazz looked and sounded.

Pinson evaluates representations of jazz musicians from 1945 to 1959, concentrating on the seminal role played by Herman Leonard (b. 1923). Leonard's photographic depictions of African American jazz musicians in New York not only created a visual template of a black musician of the 1950s, but also became the standard configuration of the music's neoclassical sound today. To discover how the image of the musician affected mainstream jazz, Pinson examines readings from critics, musicians, and educators, as well as interviews, musical scores, recordings, transcriptions, liner notes, and oral narratives.

K. Heather Pinson, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is assistant professor of communication and media arts at Robert Morris University. She has contributed to the Encyclopedia of African American Music, Encyclopedia of the Blues, and Rock Brands: Selling Sound in a Media Saturated Culture.

256 pages (approx.), 6 x 9 inches, 26 b&w illustrations, bibliography, appendices, index