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Jazz Life

Updated on January 15, 2011

Great coffee table book.

"Photography is jazz for the eye."

William Claxton's wife, Peggy once said, "Photography is jazz for the eye." I've always felt that photography is an artform and her husband's work certainly provides ample evidence.

Jazz photography came into its own with the works of Francis Wolff and William Claxton back in the fifties and early sixties.

Jazz Life is the result of the combined efforts of Claxton and German journalist Joachim Berendt and when I say the book is heavy, it's no metaphor. I weighed it on the bathroom scales and it comes in at 8.9 pounds. This is a "coffee table book" that will require a sturdy table. It's big, too -- 10" X 14". See the photo below with the audio CD shown for perspective.

A great addition to the library of jazz fans.

Erroll Garner on the left and Sonny Rollins on the right.
Erroll Garner on the left and Sonny Rollins on the right.

Interested enough to own it? Buy it now!

These are a few of my favorite things...

John Coltrane covered this Richard Rodgers/Oscar Hammerstein's song "My Favorite Things" from The Sound of Music in 1961. It is generally considered to be a historic recording and was his first for Atlantic Records. Two of my favorite things are photography and jazz. William Claxton and Joachim Berendt combined efforts in late 1959 and 1960 to produce a benchmark volume of jazz and photography, Jazz Life . This book recently came to my attention and so I have now reviewed it. I'm enthusiastic about having it in my library and hope readers will consider acquiring it as well.

The list of jazz artists photographed and featured in this huge book is long and impressive. Musicians from Louie Armstrong to Joe Williams are included along with unknowns in the Louisiana State Penitentiary to consummate professionals whose enduring legacies make them household names today.

The currently available copy is a re-issue from Taschen and includes an audio CD. Watch for a link to my review of that item soon.

The following video clip provides a glimpse into this magnificent collection of images and text and unfortunately is silent. So, put on some cool jazz, hot jazz, or whatever your favorite flavor of jazz and enjoy the open-book tour.

Look inside here!


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    • Cheryl J. profile image

      Cheryl J. 

      6 years ago from Houston, TX

      Jazz is medicine to my heart. William Claxton is an awesome jazz musician. Thanks for introducing this great hub and all the great talents. Excellent hub

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 

      7 years ago from Texas

      Jazz is a very interesting music and a very interesting subject when you break it down to the people who populate it. Thanks for sharing this. WB

    • Joyful Pamela profile image

      Joyful Pamela 

      7 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      I've been reading alot about jazz lately, so this looks good. Thanks!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I got this for Christmas from my sister. I love it!

    • Joshua Kell profile image

      Levi Joshua Kell 

      7 years ago from Arizona

      Very cool hub. Thanks.

    • BJBenson profile image


      7 years ago from USA

      I have never heard this term before. Thank you for the info. Keep up the good work. I like when I learn new things.

    • FCEtier profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Cold Mountain

      Thanks for all your interest and comments.

      @dahoglund -- It's never to late to try other genres. In fact last year, I listened to a hip-hop album!

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 

      7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I admit that I never heard of Jazz photography.I like jazz but have not followed it. About the time I was interested in it Rock seemed to have replaced it. I know it has made a comeback since than but I never mangae to keep up.

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 

      7 years ago from South Africa

      Love Claxton's photography! I have his book "Jazz Seen" which I think contains many of the photos included in "Jazz Life". I did see the latter book once, but it was way, way over my ability to pay! I have Berendt's "Jazz Book" though and love it.

      Thanks for an great preview!

      Love and peace


    • nextstopjupiter profile image


      7 years ago from here, there and everywhere

      Interesting hub, good introduction to jazz photography

    • vietnamvet68 profile image


      7 years ago from New York State

      beautiful, I love the old jazz

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 

      7 years ago

      Awesomely useful! Thank you sir!


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