Max Roach -- NYC. [black-and-white photoprint,] 1950
Leonard, Herman 1923-2010
Silver gelatin on paper
African American musicians
AC0445-0000009.tif (AC Scan No.)
Roach is shown playing the drums in a recording studio. Title, signature, date in lower margin
Used April 27, 2010, on the Smithsonian Photographic Initiative web site, "click! photography changes everything" (http://click.si.edu) to accompany contributor Jeremy Wolfe's (a professor at Harvard School of Medicine who investigates visual attention) story, which reflects on how photography changes what and how much we remember
Herman Leonard Photographs, Archives Center, National Museum of American History. Gift of the artist
Ella Fitzgerald entered a Harlem talent contest in the mid-1930s, intending to do a dance. On stage, however, her legs froze, and in desperation she launched into song. Her fallback alternative proved good enough to win the contest, and so began a singing career that would make Fitzgerald the "First Lady of Song." Blessed with a voice capable of seamlessly spanning three octaves, Fitzgerald soon perfected her remarkable gifts for vocal improvisation, known as "scat" singing. Her "songbook" recordings of American standards, made from 1956 to 1964, are the definitive tributes to Cole Porter, Duke Ellington, and others. Fitzgerald's respectful understanding of a composer's intentions made these songwriters some of her most ardent fans. "I never knew how good our songs were," lyricist Ira Gershwin once said, "until I heard Ella Fitzgerald sing them."
A pioneering figure in twentieth-century American music, Aaron Copland first rooted his work in jazz during the 1920s to showcase its divergence from European traditions. By the thirties, he used the flourishing mass media of radio and movies to create a large music-loving audience with film scores for Of Mice and Men and The Heiress, for which he won an Academy Award in 1949. Copland also composed scores for such ballets as Agnes de Mille's Billy the Kid and Martha Graham's Appalachian Spring, winning a Pulitzer Prize in 1944 for the latter. His symphonic compositions include A Lincoln Portrait and Fanfare for the Common Man.