Herman LeonaBillie Holiday by Herman Leonardrd Collection
When: September 2-4, 2016
Where: Jorge Mendez Gallery, 756 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92262
Gallery Phone Number: (760) 656-7454
Presenting Sponsor Wells Fargo

The exhibition of photos from the collection of ‘The Greatest Photographer in the History of the Genre’ to be on display during Palm Springs Women’s Jazz Festival

It was former President Bill Clinton that laid the title of “greatest photographer in the history of jazz” on Herman Leonard.

Leonard, who died in 2010, spent more than seven decades of his life across two continents using his camera to immortalize the musicians and singers of this truly American art form.

Dinah Washington by Herman LeonardAlong with honoring the great ladies of jazz, this year the Palm Springs Women’s Jazz Festival pays homage to Leonard and his portraits of the great jazz masters by featuring his work at the festival’s opening reception, and where headliner Dee Dee Bridgewater will be presented with the Jazz Master Award on September 2, from 5 to 7 p.m., at the Jorge Mendez Gallery in Palm Springs. The event is made possible through the generous support of Wells Fargo.

More than 50 of Leonard’s timeless photos will remain on view and for sale at the gallery and performance venues around the city throughout the weekend. As a photographer, Leonard first photographed jazz clubs in 1948. His catalog of 35,000 jazz photographs, now collector’s items, are a unique record of the jazz scene of the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s. Many of his negatives were destroyed when his New Orleans home was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, making the remaining prints and negatives much more precious for jazz and photography lovers. The Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, which opens a retrospective of Leonard’s work in August, and the Smithsonian Museum of American History, both in Washington, D.C., claim 155 original Herman Leonard photographic prints in its permanent collection, where they are considered as essential to American music history as Benny Goodman’s clarinet or Louis Armstrong’s horn.

Herman’s work is also represented in numerous public collections including Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City; the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans; and the George Eastman House in Rochester, NY; the Grammy Museum, Los Angeles; as well as the private collections of Sir Elton John, Bruce Bernard, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand and President Clinton.

Ella Fitzgerald by Herman LeonardPhotographs include artists Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Sarah Vaughn, Miles David, Billie Holiday, Chet Baker, Frank Sinatra and others. The public will get its first look at the photos at the Jazz Masters Awards Ceremony and Opening Night Reception, which is Sponsored by Wells Fargo Bank, at the Jorge Mendez Gallery at 756 N Palm Canyon Drive from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday, September 2. The ticketed $40 reception includes a champagne reception, hors d’oeuvres, awards presentation and live music.

In addition to the gallery show, a selection of prints will be on display and for sale at the Annenberg Theater at the Palm Springs Art Museum for the evening concerts with Ann Hampton Callaway and Dee Dee Bridgewater on September 2 and 3, respectively; at the Pamela Williams “Cool Soul Jam” featuring Palm Springs artist Gennine Jackson at the Indian Canyons Golf Resort; and at the Hard Rock Hotel for the Divas Tribute Sunday Brunch on September 4.

The Palm Springs Women’s Jazz Festival is a non-profit 501c3 founded to promote women in jazz through education and events. Since 2013, the festival has hosted over 100 jazz musicians and performers, bringing a worldwide audience of jazz fans to Palm Springs. For Information go to Palm Springs Women’s Jazz Festival or call 760.416.3545.

Photo 1 – Billie Holiday
Photo 2 – Dinah Washington
Photo 3 – Ella Fitzgerald
All Photographs Courtesy of the Herman Leonard Collection