“Above all, enjoy the music” – Herman Leonard
March 6, 1923 – August 14, 2010
Herman’s passion for jazz brought him to New York City’s Greenwich Village, where he established a studio at 220 Sullivan Street and captured the swinging clubs of Broadway, 52nd Street and Harlem. With the camera as his free ticket, he photographed and developed friendships with some of the greats of jazz history including Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington and many more.
Herman’s jazz photographs, now collector’s items, are a unique record of the jazz scene of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. The Smithsonian claims 130 original Herman Leonard photographic prints in its permanent collection, where they are considered as essential to American music history as Benny Goodman’s clarinet or Louis Armstrong’s horn.
The Herman Leonard Jazz Archive was established in 2007 and in 2008 was awarded a Grammy Foundation Grant for Archiving and Preservation. Herman’s goal through the archive is to bring his entire jazz collection, comprising a visual documentation of America’s original art form, back to life and preserve it for future generations. [extracts : herman leonard photography]