Thursday, October 20, 2011

New book by former St. Louisan examines relationship between jazz and photography

Former St. Louisan Benjamin Cawthra, who curated the 2001 exhibition "Miles: A Miles Davis Retrospective" for the Missouri History Museum, has just published a new book called Blue Notes in Black and White: Photography and Jazz via the University of Chicago Press.

Cawthra, now an associate professor of history and associate director of the Center for Oral and Public History at California State University, Fullerton, lived in St. Louis for 16 years and earned a Ph.D in history from Washington University.

Blue Notes in Black and White is touted as "the first of its kind: a fascinating account of the partnership between two of the twentieth century’s most innovative art forms." The book (pictured) covers significant jazz photographers such as Gjon Mili, William Gottlieb, Herman Leonard, Francis Wolff, Roy DeCarava, and William Claxton, as well as their jazz musician subjects, including Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and Miles Davis, who's shown on the cover. It endeavors to show "the connections between the photographers, art directors, editors, and record producers who crafted a look for jazz that would sell magazines and albums" as well as how musicians shaped their public images to further their own goals.

For more about Cawthra and Blue Notes in Black and White, see the University of Chicago Press website and/or the book's own Facebook page. (And if you order a copy through this Amazon link, a few pennies of commission will kick back to StLJN.)

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