Jun 4, 2013

Billy Eckstine–Royal Roost, NYC

Billy Eckstine–Royal Roost, NYC


Herman Leonard

(American, 1923–2010)

Gelatin silver print

Image: 43.6 x 36.8 cm (17 3/16 x 14 1/2 in.); Paper: 50.3 x 40.5 cm (19 13/16 x 15 15/16 in.)

Gift of George Stephanopoulos 2012.359



A passion for jazz attracted Herman Leonard, now recognized as the preeminent photographer of that art form, to New York City in 1948. Working days as a freelance photographer for magazines, he spent nights shooting at jazz clubs, including the Royal Roost near Times Square, trading his pictures for entrance fees. He brought the techniques of street photography to bear on live performances. Here, he captured the intensity and emotion of a concert by jazz singer Billy Eckstine, who recorded more than a dozen hits during the late 1940s.

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