Herman Leonard, the great jazz photographer whose iconic images of Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Dexter Gordon, and many more are treasured the world over, passed away on Saturday, August 14 in Los Angeles at the age of 87. A New Orleans resident from 1992 until Hurricane Katrina, Leonard saw his work exhibited many times around the globe since the late 1980s and released two books of photos featuring jazz legends. After Katrina and failure of the federal levee system in 2005 destroyed his home and archive of prints (the negatives are housed safely at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art), Leonard moved to Los Angeles. His third and final book, "Jazz," will be published in the U.K. later this year according to his web site.
WWOZ tips its hat to Herman Leonard, whose photographic documentation of jazz spanning several eras partly defined the world's imagining of this American art form. We send our condolences to his surving sons, daughters, and grandchildren.
Funeral arrangements are pending; the family has requested that people wishing to honor Mr. Leonard simply donate to the New Orleans' Musicians Clinic.