Legendary jazz photographer Herb Snitzer's recent book "Glorious Days and Nights: A Jazz Memoir" was unveiled on January 30, 2011 with a gallery talk, book signing and exhibition at the Tampa Museum of Art. I was very fortunate to make it to Herb's gallery talk and hear his heartfelt remembrances of playing ping pong with Charles Mingus and riding through the South with Louis Armstrong and his big band. I was equally lucky to snag one of the final copies of the 40 books that were on hand to be signed and through my friendship with bassist and jazz writer Philip Booth, I was able to meet Herb and get a photo with him after he inscribed my book.
The collection of images functions as a sincere, elegiac chronicle of New York's jazz scene during the heyday of the mid-20th century. As he writes so well in the introduction, "I came to jazz through art—painting and photography, the American Abstract Expressionists, beat poets, Greenwich Village wanderings—as a young and very impressionable artist living in New York City. I was drawn to the music, as I was to my art, initially, by the spirit and joy that I felt every time I heard jazz." You can feel this sense of adoration in each of the 85 black and white images between the pages of "Glorious Days."
The exhibition is on display through May 15 at the museum, 120 W. Gasparilla Plaza in Tampa. For more information, call (813) 274-8130 or visit the museum’s web site.