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We visited the Grammy Museum Friday evening, on Figueroa Sweet at LA Live in Downtown Los Angeles. I expected something glitzy and promotional, fit for Universal City Walk and while there are elements, it is a serious small museum, focused on listening experiences, where one can gain a beginning university education in the history and features of twentieth-century American popular music. Our reason for going, however, was photographic.

Maestro Charlie K advised us of the current Herman Leonard photo exhibit and accompanied us. In the late 1940s, Leonard, who died just a couple of years ago, set up a studio in Greenwich Village and began shooting at Birdland and all the jazz clubs around Broadway and Fifty-Second Street and up in Harlem. Leonard had a varied career, including fashion and shooting for Playboy, but a second intense period of jazz photography followed when he moved to Paris in the late 50s. There are no better, more evocative images of a bygone jazz world. This is a small taste.

Sonny Stitt

Dexter Gordon

A rarely seen side of Louis Armstrong

Ella Fitzgerald Sings before Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, and Richard Rodgers

The Palm Court, New Orleans

Duke Ellington in Paris

Frank Sinatra

The Hands of Billie Holiday

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4 comments

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charlie k January 20, 2013 at 8:26 pm

A great time was had by all! THe Leonard photographs are up thru Feb…Great hangin with you guys, J& J!

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Bella Center January 20, 2013 at 2:53 pm

Louis and Ella had tremendous sex appeal that went beyond looks, as these photos show. Nice.

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Rob January 20, 2013 at 11:18 am

Stellar photos. Especially of Armstrong and Sinatra. And the one with Ella, Duke, Benny and Richard Rogers is priceless. Plus I’d swear that’s Bill Clinton to Ellington’s left (maybe even he would swear).

Did you get to see the Songwriters Hall of Fame Gallery?

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