[JPL] Herman Leonard Jazz Archive Awarded Grammy Foundation Grant
for Archiving and Preservation
Jazz Promo Services
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Thu Apr 3 16:45:59 EDT 2008
Herman Leonard Jazz Archive Awarded Grammy Foundation Grant for Archiving
Funds will Provide Support for Archiving and Preservation of one of the
World's Largest Collections of Jazz Images by a Single Photographer
Studio City, Calif. (PRWEB) April 3, 2008 -- The GRAMMY Foundation® Grant
Program recently announced that it has awarded a $33,017 grant to the Herman
Leonard Jazz Archive to support the preserving and organizing of Herman
Leonard's large, historically-significant archive of 65,000 negatives,
comprising one of the most complete photographic documents of American Jazz
from the 1940's and 50's. Significant negatives will be scanned, archived
and made accessible to the public.
At the birth of Bebop, Herman Leonard was the family photographer. From New
Orleans to New York to Paris, where African American musicians did not have
to endure the discrimination faced in the United States, Herman Leonard
followed the music and the musicians.
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.
Herman photographed legendary performers in legendary clubs. The Downbeat
Club, 1949, Ella Fitzgerald is singing on stage, it's her birthday and Duke
Ellington and Benny Goodman look up at her in utter reverence from the two
front tables. Billie Holiday. Charlie "Bird" Parker. Louis Armstrong. Dizzy
Gillespie. Miles Davis. Birdland. The Royal Roost. Minton's. Bop City and
Club St. Germain. All photographed by Herman Leonard in that unmistakable
style that captures the essence of Jazz.
Fifty years later, in 1990, Herman settled in New Orleans, the Jazz capital
of America. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina claimed some 8,000 photographs
printed by Herman Leonard, a master printer in his own right. As the storm
blew in, Herman's crew gathered the negatives and placed them in the care of
the Ogden Museum of Southern Art where they were stored in a vault.
Herman and a group of friends moved as many of his prints as they could to
the third floor of his home. Over 10 feet of water and mud flooded Herman's
studio on the lower floor. Mold flourished in the two upper floors
destroying Herman's legacy of thousands of custom-printed photographs as
well Herman's exposure logs.
Having relocated to Los Angeles where his negatives are in cold-storage to
prevent further deterioration, the 85 year-old Herman Leonard and his staff
now are undertaking the cataloging, restoring and re-printing this body of
iconic Jazz photographs. Without exposure logs, Herman must experiment with
light and timing, printing every photograph as if it is the first time.
Damaged negatives must be digitally restored and reproduced for photographic
In his forward to the book "Jazz, Giants, And Journeys: The Photography of
Herman Leonard" Quincy Jones wrote, "When people think of jazz, their mental
picture is likely one of Herman's." The grant award from the Grammy
Foundation will literally be "Resurrecting Jazz" - bringing this visual
documentation of America's original art form back to life and preserving it
for future generations.
The Herman Leonard Jazz Archive is headed by Geraldine Baum, Herman's
Archivist and Manager as well as Cynthia Sesso of CTS Images, Herman's
The Herman Leonard Jazz Archive was established in 2007. For more
information about Herman Leonard, please visit www.hermanleonard.com.
The GRAMMY Foundation was established in 1989 to cultivate the
understanding, appreciation and advancement of the contribution of recorded
music to American culture -- from the artistic and technical legends of the
past to the still unimagined musical breakthroughs of future generations of
music professionals. The Foundation accomplishes this mission through
programs and activities that engage the music industry and cultural
community as well as the general public. The Foundation works in partnership
year-round with its founder, The Recording Academy, to bring national
attention to important issues such as the value and impact of music and arts
education and the urgency of preserving our rich cultural heritage. For more
information, please visit www.grammyfoundation.com.
The Herman Leonard Jazz Archive
The GRAMMY Foundation
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