BERENDT, Joachim E. and William Claxton. Jazz Life: Auf Den Spuren Des Jazz.
(Baden, Germany): Burda Druck und Verlag, 1961. First edition. Quarto. 268 pages. In 1960, photographer William Claxton and noted German musicologist Joachim Berendt traveled the United States hot on the trail of jazz music. The result of their collaboration was an amazing collection of photographs and recordings of legendary artists as well as unknown street musicians. Claxton and Berendt undertook their mission at a perfect time. In the year before they set out, Miles recorded Kind Of Blue, Ornette made The Shape of Jazz to Come, and Coltrane, Giant Steps. Musicians were making history on a regular basis. Everybody looks effortlessly cool. Everybody has magnetism. Everybody has something individual going on. Even the stock image of a saxophonist swathed in cigarette smoke on a canvas of moody monochrome (Young Zoot Sims) isn’t at all hackneyed. This is the original template that countless yuppie advertising agencies ripped off in the 1980s. Glamour, in its can’t-be-bought pedigree, oozes from the pages of Jazz Life. This is a very good copy in good dust jacket that is as usual worn along edges with some loss, chips and tears. Still a nicer copy than that usually encountered.
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