Taking a Look at Jazz

Did you hear? April 30 is International Jazz Day! So I thought I’d search the Prints and Photographs collections to get an idea of what we have to represent the celebrated music genre- that thing we call jazz! The cartoon drawing below epitomizes the exuberance and dynamic feeling of the music!

Julian and Julienne. Drawing by John Held, between 1910 and 1920. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3g13023

Julian and Julienne. Drawing by John Held, between 1910 and 1920. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3g13023

There are many gems in our collections that call out to me as I browse our Prints and Photographs Online Catalog. One particularly cool image was a fun color shot by Carol Highsmith, shown below.

Dixieland jazz band on Bourbon Street, New Orleans, Louisiana. Photograph by Carol Highsmith, between 1980 and 2006. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/highsm.14803

Dixieland jazz band on Bourbon Street, New Orleans, Louisiana. Photograph by Carol Highsmith, between 1980 and 2006. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/highsm.14803

Some of my favorite jazz pictures come from the Carl Van Vechten Photographs Collection of images taken between 1932 and 1964. The bulk of this collection consists of portrait photographs of celebrities, including many notable figures from the Harlem Renaissance. A sampling of these well-known artists can be seen below in the charismatic portraits of Bill “Bojangles” Robinson and Bessie Smith. Check out the Performing Arts blog, In the Muse, to read a wonderful post by Cait Miller about Bessie Smith material held in the Music Division!

Portrait of Bill Robinson. Photograph by Carl Van Vechten, 1933 Jan. 25. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.18631

Portrait of Bill Robinson. Photograph by Carl Van Vechten, 1933 Jan. 25. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.18631

Portrait of Bessie Smith holding feathers. Photograph by Carl Van Vechten, 1936 Feb 3. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.09571

Portrait of Bessie Smith holding feathers. Photograph by Carl Van Vechten, 1936 Feb 3. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.09571

Our collections encompass the inspiring range of participants and activities in the jazz world. Pictures of ordinary people throughout the decades have been captured performing and enjoying the sweet sounds and melodies, as well.

US Army Jazz Band, Camp Upton. Photograph by Bain News Service, 1918 May 27. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ggbain.26880

US Army Jazz Band, Camp Upton. Photograph by Bain News Service, 1918 May 27. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ggbain.26880

High school jazz band. Sikeston, Missouri. Photograph by John Vachon, 1940 May. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/fsa.8c17451

High school jazz band. Sikeston, Missouri. Photograph by John Vachon, 1940 May. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/fsa.8c17451

Genuine jazz for the yankee wounded In the courtyard of a Paris hospital for the American wounded, an American negro military band, led by Lt. James R. Europe, entertains the patients with real American jazz. Photograph by United States Army Signal Corps, 1918. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ds.09800

Genuine jazz for the yankee wounded In the courtyard of a Paris hospital for the American wounded, an American negro military band, led by Lt. James R. Europe, entertains the patients with real American jazz. Photograph by United States Army Signal Corps, 1918. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ds.09800

Jazzman, New Orleans, Louisiana. Photograph by Carol Highsmith, between 1980 and 2006. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print

Jazzman, New Orleans, Louisiana. Photograph by Carol Highsmith, between 1980 and 2006. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/highsm.12887

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