Saturday, April 23, 2016

Dynamic Jazz Performance Photography from Lenny Bernstein/Jazz Jones Photos

Wayne Shorter, photo copyright Lenny Bernstein,
Wayne Shorter 
(photo copyright Lenny Bernstein,
The recently launched website Jazz Jones Photos is the place to go for compelling live jazz performance photography.

The site showcases the work of photographer Lenny Bernstein. Check out dynamic shots of hundreds of musicians and vocalists, from Anthony Braxton, Michael Brecker, and Lester Bowie to Jeff "Tain" Watts, Joe Williams, and Randy Weston, and everyone you can think of in between. More photos are being added all the time. 

Bruce Forman, photo copyright Lenny Bernstein,
Bruce Forman
(photo copyright Lenny Bernstein,
All photos are copyright-protected, but Jazz Jones offers very reasonable licensing fees. Contact Lenny and his staff for permissions and the digital files and/or prints you need.

Cindy Blackman Santana, photo copyright Lenny Bernstein,
Cindy Blackman Santana
(photo copyright Lenny Bernstein,
In Lenny Bernstein's work, you won't find artful black-and-white compositions conjuring up nostalgia for a bygone jazz era. He does not romanticize jazz. Rather, he captures and amplifies the dynamic moment of music-making. His photos show the player deeply inside the music, and the music deeply inside the player. The two elements exist inseparably in his images.

In these photos, the music and the player are still moving in time. Here you don't see etched shadows of black and white: you enter vivid color. And you don't see an isolated portrait of a musician in the footlights: you experience the musician in the multi-hued act of creation and communication. That act of jazz music-making as revealed here is both personal and communal, involving both private reverie and collective inspiration.

Bobby Hutcherson, photo copyright Lenny Bernstein,
Bobby Hutcherson
(photo copyright Lenny Bernstein,

You might say that Lenny Bernstein's photography arises first of all from his experience of what jazz musicians invariably refer to simply as “the music.” He doesn't seek to freeze the music or the musician — he allows the music and its players to generate the image. Look: and listen again.

Lenny Bernstein is the co-author, with Reginald Carver, of Jazz Profiles: The Spirit of the Nineties from Billboard Books. His photographs are permanently exhibited at California State University, Monterey Bay. They have been shown at Yoshi's Jazz Club, Oakland; the Eloise Pickard Smith Gallery at the University of California, Santa Cruz; Kuumbwa Jazz Center, Santa Cruz; and the Art Museum of Santa Cruz County. The Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Monterey Jazz Festival, and others have licensed Mr. Bernstein's photographs for use, including such publications as Art Forum, The Atlantic, The Economist, Forbes, Gourmet, Harper's, House Beautiful, Interview, New York Magazine, the New York Times, Saveur, and Vanity Fair.

Lenny Bernstein of
Photographer Lenny Bernstein

An electronics engineer, attorney, and WWII veteran as well as professional photographer, Bernstein writes, "I spent a great deal of time at Yoshi's in Oakland, Keystone Korner and the Both/And in San Francisco, and Kuumbwa Jazz in Santa Cruz, along with the Monterey Jazz Festival and other clubs and concerts. In these settings, I photographed more than 1,000 jazz musicians in more than 30,000 photographs. What you see here is only a small selection from my archives."

(Since this post appears on her blog, it's worth noting that Lenny Bernstein's daughter is the singer, poet, and intuitive Lisa B, aka Lisa Bernstein. His website includes some instrumental versions of her compositions.)

Jason Moran, photo copyright Lenny Bernstein,
Jason Moran
(photo copyright Lenny Bernstein,


  1. So glad they are finally available to everyone.

    1. Thanks for the enthusiasm! So glad you're enjoying the website. We do ask that before reproducing anything from it, you talk to us about easy licensing.

  2. Positive site, where did u come up with the information on this posting?I have read a few of the articles on your website now, and I really like your style. Thanks a million and please keep up the effective work.rock music blogs


Thanks for adding your voice!