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Harry Harrison

The jazz pictures of Francis Wolff

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Last night viewers in the UK could see a programme about Blue Note Records "Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes". I'm not an out and out jazz fan so I had no idea that one of the two founders, Francis Wolff, was a photographer and he took it upon himself to photograph the artists long before photographs were really required (albums came in plain sleeves then) and then throughout the life of the company. Great atmospheric B&W photographs taken on a Rolleiflex with a hand-held flash.

 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000b8pd/blue-note-records-beyond-the-notes

 

This site has the pictures, now owned and managed by Michael Cuscuna:

 

https://www.mosaicrecordsimages.com/francis-wolff-photography

 

The sound engineer Rudy van Gelder remembered ""The majority of the pictures that Frank took were taken with a Rolleiflex camera and a f3.5 lens, set at f.11 or f.8.  Using Kodak tri-X film with a hand-held flash, he’d hold the camera in his left hand with the flash held up in his right - statue-of-liberty style. Trying to get the light source in the proper position, he was always stretching the cords to their capacity. In the middle of a session, he'd come behind the console and I'd have to solder the wires back together."

 

 

Edited by Harry Harrison

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I'm not an out and out jazz fan either but I watched it because I'm interested in understanding musical influences and I knew that Blue Note was very influential. Some terrific photographs.

 

Alan

 

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