"The photographs of William Claxton define the essence of cool."
- Jason Ankeny (AllMusic)
"Claxton's innovative choices and airy style, which he called 'jazz for your eyes', worked sublimely to document and promote the rise of trumpeter and singer Chet Baker, especially."
- Howard Mandel
Born in Pasadena, California, photographer William Claxton (1927-2008) is best known for his dozens of splendid portraits of jazz stars (especially those of Chet Baker, of whom he made the first professional photos) and Hollywood stars (such as his friend Steve McQueen). In 1952, while shooting Gerry Mulligan and Chet Baker at the Haig Club, he met Richard Bock, founder of Pacific Jazz, who quickly hired him as art director and house photographer. During his time at the label, Claxton snapped and designed album covers at a rate of roughly one per week, in the process establishing the visual identity of the West Coast jazz movement. Where previous jazz photographers captured their subjects in the dark, smoky environs of nightclubs, Claxton capitalised on the sun and surf of southern California, posing artists in unorthodox outdoor settings to represent a new era in the music's continued evolution. Claxton's images graced the covers of numerous music albums, and his work regularly appeared in such magazines as Life, Paris Match and Vogue. Claxton wrote 13 books, held dozens of exhibitions of his photographs around the world, and won numerous photography awards.
This book presents a selection of more than 150 superb images by the great photographer. Among the multiple artists portrayed are Louis Armstrong, Chet Baker, Art Blakey, Clifford Brown, Dave Brubeck, Ray Charles, Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Bill Evans, Stan Getz, Billie Holiday, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk, Wes Montgomery, Lee Morgan, Art Pepper, Sonny Rollins, Dinah Washington, and Muddy Waters.
Text in English, with an introduction in English, French and Spanish.