Paul Slaughter’s photos of jazz greats
A selection of Paul Slaughter’s dynamic photographs of jazz artists opens on Friday, Feb. 12, in the Marion Center for Photographic Arts at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design (1600 St. Michael’s Drive,). Slaughter’s love for jazz dates to the late 1950s. Working as a waiter at the Jazz Gallery nightclub in New York, he got to see Thelonious Monk and Bill Evans perform. By the early 1970s, Slaughter was interviewing Monk and other jazz players in his job as a DJ for KBCA, a jazz station in Los Angeles. And he was using his camera to capture musicians and to shoot album covers, including Carmen McRae’s Great American Songbook.
One of his favorite photos is a portrait of trumpeter and bebop innovator Dizzy Gillespie taking a backstage smoke break at The Lighthouse in Hermosa Beach, California. It’s a candid and features dramatic lighting. “I was an actor and you learn about lighting, and I’ve always loved painting,” Slaughter told Pasatiempo in 2005. “When you’re at a jazz concert, you look for the moment when the mood is right and the lighting is right.”
Over the years he has also photographed pianists Duke Ellington and Dave Brubeck; singers Ella Fitzgerald and Cassandra Wilson; saxophonists Gerry Mulligan, Cannonball Adderley, Dexter Gordon, and Sonny Rollins; trumpeters Miles Davis and Wynton Marsalis; and drummer Elvin Jones, among many others. Two items also on Slaughter’s résumé are the fact that he ran the photography office for the 1984 Olympic Committee in Los Angeles, and he has taught at the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops.
Jazz Greats: A Photographic Exhibition by Paul Slaughter opens with an artist reception at 5 p.m. and hangs through April 20. At 7 p.m. (immediately following the reception), SFUAD Contemporary Music Program faculty chair Horace Alexander Young performs a concert in Tipton Hall, along with faculty Robert Muller and Andy Zadrozny and a SFUAD jazz student. Both events are free. Call 505- 473- 6341 for information.
A show of painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, and filmmaking by high school students opens at the Marion Center concurrently with
Jazz Greats. This 15th annual student exhibition from Monte del Sol Charter School is on view through Feb. 26. — Paul Weideman
Paul Slaughter: Dizzy Gillespie, The Lighthouse, Hermosa Beach, California, 1975; below, Jimmy Witherspoon, Monterey Jazz Festival, 1972;