About the book
The West Coast, 1950s. A time of youth, exuberance, hope and change. Nowhere was this more evident than in the music emanating from the San Francisco and Los Angeles jazz scene. Musical improvisation spilled over onto artists' canvases, poets' pages and comics' stand-up routines.
Freezing in his garage darkroom, Bob Willoughby worked late into the night developing and printing his photographs with his radio firmly dialled into these new sounds. Live music was everywhere and it seemed only natural that he go out and document what was going on.
In Jazz: Body and Soul you'll find unrivalled images and personal accounts of the most famous artists of the time -- Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong, Chet Baker, Gerry Mulligan, Billie Holiday -- and never-before published photographs of inspired performances and backstage jitters.
About the author
Bob Willoughby is best known for his remarkable Hollywood film coverage of the '50s, '60s and '70s.
From son Christopher Willoughby:
“Until I started working on this project, I had no idea of the importance jazz played in my father’s life. Sure it was always on, but mostly upstairs in his office while he worked.
Once I started reading his descriptions of the musicians and his understanding of their work, it was clear I really had no idea of the breadth of his knowledge and the passion he had for the music.
Most of these images were created in the early fifties, just before Bob’s Hollywood career took off. After that, the studios completely consumed his time and I think jazz became something to enjoy rather than shoot. He said that when he was shooting, he was so focused on the photography that he really ended up not hearing the performance.
This book has existed in various forms for many years. Not long after Bob passed away, Lord David Evans, a family friend who had worked with my dad in the past, contacted me and asked if I was interested in publishing the book. This was all new to me at the time, but I thought the book could do with a little sprucing up and Lord Evans agreed. I asked a good friend, David Orr, a commercial director and fine art photographer, if he would be interested in collaborating. He is a huge jazz fan himself with an excellent design background. I think the book is quite beautiful and I hope Dad (a notorious stickler if ever there was one) would be as proud of it as we are.
Another benefit of the project, besides getting to know my father a little better, is a much greater appreciation for the music myself. There’s a little Coleman Hawkins playing right now. Thanks Dad.”