Image above: © Deb Feingold, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis and Harry "Sweets" Edison, 1980.
This is the perfect title for this fantastic show because that is exactly what happens. Ostensibly, a photography show of terrific images of brilliant and iconic jazz musicians by very talented and iconic photograhers - this show is way more than the sum of its parts. Shown in an early 1880s Harlem brownstone which creates an organic whole and enhances the experience of the period. You can literally feel the presence of these larger than life musicians. Many will surely find themselves creating their own internal soundtrack. Seeing this work in this space turns viewing into an intimate experience. The jazz metaphor is amplified by the syncopated layout of the gallery - in various rooms on three floors.
©Philippe Halsman (Left: Luis Armstrong, Halsman's Studio, New YorK City, 1966); Sherry Suris (Right: Charles Mingus, Jazz Week, NYC, July 1973) .
© Tad Hershorn, Abbey Lincoln, Naval Observatory in Washington, DC, 1994.
It is an impressive Who’s Who of jazz greats - including gelatin silver prints from the 1960‘s - notably Louis Armstrong by Philippe Halsman, Lena Horne by Harry Benson and an unusual diptych of Miles Davis and John Coltrane by Don Hunstein. There are two spectacular prints of the late BB King - one by Tad Hershorn and another by Albert Watson. There are a number of black and white prints by Deborah Feingold including the Marsalis Brothers and Chet Baker. Grayson Dantzig, a talented emerging photographer represented here, has made some spectacularly arresting images which seem to illustrate the sound and the heat - they are printed in bright red and capture the movement.
© Harry Benson, Lionel Hampton, George Shearing, Mel Torme, Sylvia Syms, Gerry Mullgan, Carnegle Hall, NYC, 1982.
© Grayson Dantzic, John Batiste, 27th Birthday Party Concert, The Cutting Room, NYC, 2013.
The show is curated by Loni Efron who has worked in all areas of photoraphy since the nineties - including as an archivist, archive software designer and photo editor. She is planning an upcoming show about Harlem which will surely not be one to be missed. The opening night was sponsored by the legendary, recently restored Minton’s Playhouse who provided the delicious food and drink and the musicians who played in the back garden adding one more layer of connection with the work.
© Albert Watson (Left: Bo Didley, New York City, 1992; Right: BB King, Connecticut Blues Festival, 1989)
© Grayson Dantzic, Marcus Miller & Bruce Harts, Joe's Pub, NYC, 2014.
There is an unexpected bonus on the ground floor - in which can be found the ‘rock and roll room’ - which includes marvelous images images such as Mick Jagger by Annie Liebowitz, Keith Richards by Ken Regan, Elvis Presley by Alfred Wertheimer, The Beatles and Mohammad Ali by Harry Benson, Stevie Rae Vaughn by Deborah Feingold and way more. Also there is Loni’s office on the third floor filled with more first-rate work by photographers such as David LaChapelle, Joel Meyerowitz, Philippe Halsman, Starn Twins and then some. It is imporant to note that while the subjects are familiar, the images are not at all predictable. It all feels very fresh and exhilarating. It is a treasure hunt where everyone wins.
By Belle McIntyre
All Opening Images ©Grayson Dantzic