“Early in October of 1959 I received a telephone call from Germany. The person introduced himself as Joachim-Ernst Berendt, a musicologist living in Baden-Baden. In very good English, he explained that he was coming to America to do a study of “America’s great art - jazz.”
He went on say that he needed a photographer to work with him - a photographer who liked and understood jazz. He had seen a great deal of my work published in European magazines and on record covers and thought that I would be the perfect choice to work with him - “because your pictures have soul.”
He went on to explain that the book would be mainly a collection of my images to augment his writings about jazz. There would be interviews with musicians, descriptions of the various places where one hears jazz, and a look at the origins of jazz as well as the art itself.
He made it all sound a bit erudite, but it seemed like a very important project, and I was thrilled by his offer. The chance to photograph many of my jazz heroes in addition to the many unknown and yet-to-be-discovered jazz musicians all around America, was too tempting to resist.” (William Claxton; read more)