This chapter introduces the subject of study in this book, which is the photographs of jazz musicians and how these photos have come to represent the genre as a whole. Some of the photographs examined are those that belonged to Herman Leonard, whose depictions of predominantly African American jazz musicians in New York City became a visual representation of jazz in the 1950s. Additionally, Leonard’s photographs have also become the standard manner and means through which the musical style of jazz was, and continues to be, visually represented. The chapter introduces the focus of this study, which is the question of how one is able to recognize the peculiar sounds of jazz and establish the criteria for how a jazz musician appears and looks like.
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