Shutterbug Friday #4:
Francis Wolff and the Empire of Cool (Vol. 1)

In his years as an executive at Blue Note records, Francis Wolff repeatedly called upon his earlier training as a Photographer to document a veritable pantheon of American musical wizardry. Here, in the first of three installments, is a sampling of that fearsome chronicle:

Grant Green

Freddie Hubbard

Milt Jackson

Wild Bill Davison

Larry Young

Horace Silver

Don Cherry

Jackie McLean

Kid Howard and George Lewis

Herbie Hancock

Max Roach

Wardell Gray

Shirley Scott

Art Blakey

Gigi Gryce

Cecil Taylor

Philly Joe Jones

Clifford Brown

Ray Conniff and Max Kaminsky

Elvin Jones

Wayne Shorter

Sonny Clark

Shafi Hadi

Tadd Dameron

Sonny Rollins


H. P. L. said...

Pure awesomeness!

Geoff said...

the shot of elvin jones fits perfectly with the mental image i've developed of him from listening to 'a love supreme' a million times.

and don cherry's cheeks!

i look forward to the friday series every week

asleep said...

Thank you very much, Mr Sutpen.
"Empire of Cool", indeed.

Elvin Jones: Art Blakey strikes a similar pose on the cover of "The Freedom Rider" LP.

marietta said...

danke für die wunderwunderbare Fotostrecke,in der der sich Hingabe,Horace Silver,u. Sonny Clark,und die Froehlichkeit eines Art Blakey,ebenso die Ernsthaftigkeit des Cecil Taylor,so wie P.J.Jones im Rausch des Rhythmus`vereinen,merci.

Fred said...

Every shot seems to capture the essence of each performer. Max Roach looks too cool for words. Art Blakey looks like he's having an awesome time. Herbie Hancock looks...confused?

Mr. Lee said...

Absolutely stunning shots!

erik hogstrom said...

Absolutely spectacular photos.
My favorite contributor to the Blue Note legend, however, will always be the incomparable REID MILES.

Nate said...

Philly Joe looks like he's on the nod. Fantastic post.

joel. said...

oh wow. Fred is so right - the music is in these pictures.

Andy 7 said...

Wolff was a much more dramatic jazz photographer than William Claxton, in my opinion. Amazing shots.

Tom Sutpen said...

I can go 'long with that.

By the by, I just came from your blog (which I'd not read before). Beautiful stuff, Signor!

Timmy said...

Hey, AG... FZ coulda showed them all some stuff's.

Milan said...


Bill said...

great photos. the image of elvin jones really resonates because the first jazz concert i attended was his trio at rutgers back in the day. man i miss him!

TheSundayBest said...

Hot diggety damn. Another stellar moment on this excellent site.

alex said...

These are amazing! Is there any way I could get a larger resolution of the Max Roach one, to use as a desktop background?

Sarah Hurley said...

A lot of these photos are available from Mosaic Records ( And there've been a few books of these Wolff Blue Note photos. Great stuff.