am 27. Juli 2008
I had thought that this was the paperback version of 'The Blue Note Years: the jazz photography of Francis Wolff' (ISBN 978-0847819126) but as it says in the book this is another selection of Francis Wolf photos, most unseen, too. If you've ever seen a Blue Note LP cover from the fifties and sixties you'll know what Wolff's photos look like: mostly photographed in Rudy Van Gelder's darkened recording studio, so the musicians leap at you because there are hardly any other visual distractions, their bodies have a texture that fades into the dark background.
I particularly like the photos because Wolff doesn't make his presence felt, no one is looking at the camera, these guys were captured socking out another cracking Blue Note session. With these photos you can see what the BN sound looked like and nicely, the captions list the titles to the sessions so if you have any of the recordings you'll be able to add an extra dimension to the listening experience.
The book looks pretty cool, too. The black and whites are printed in four colour to give them a solid appearance but surprisingly the screen is only 150 though the printing gives the impression that 175 or 200dpi might have been used on the matt art paper. The contemporary looking layout enhances the images. There are several musicians who get more than one photo but oddly only one of the great Rudy Van Gelder. To my mind he is the one responsible for the success of the label over the years. Maybe the first book had more of him at work.
Overall a beautiful book of jazz photos and it certainly goes well with the two oversize books by Graham Marsh of Blue Note LP cover designs where designer Reid Miles does wonders with Francis Wolff's camera creativity.