Photographer Chuck Stewart is a legend in jazz circles. Stewart took pictures for more than 100 of the albums that Creed Taylor produced.
On June 19th, SFJAZZ, the organization behind the San Francisco Jazz Festival for about 40-years, unveiled a public installation to celebrate Stewart’s work to celebrate Juneteenth. The installation is made up of 31 large scale black and white photographs by Chuck Stewart. The photographs are installed in the windows of the vacant San Francisco school district building, in the cities Hayes Valley neighborhood, at the intersection of Fell and Franklin streets.
Marcus Crowder wrote an article for SFJAZZ to coincide with the San Francisco Jazz display, in it he noted “The photos, printed on synthetic leather, will hang in windows on two sides of the building across the street from the SFJAZZ Center for at least the next year. The upper and middle prints are 91/2 feet high by 6.25 feet wide while the lower prints are 5.75 feet high by 6 feet wide.”SFJAZZ.org | Photography of Chuck Stewart
While Taylor used Pete Turners bold color art photographs for covers, Turner was rarely used for portrait photography. As effectively the photographer-in-residence at Rudy Van Gelder’s studio, Stewart captured many of the artists recording there, including the now legendary “Love Supreme” sessions for John Coltrane. Producer Bob Theile, used one of his own pictures for the cover, much to Stewart’s disappointment. Over 50-years later, Stewart found six rolls of film from that session in his studio, 25 of those pictures were featured in a 2014 John Coltrane tribute at the National Museum of American History.JAM Tribute to John Coltrane & “A Love Supreme” | National Museum of American History (si.edu)
Picture of discovered and donated photos by Chuck Stewart from the “A Love Supreme” recording session. Photo Courtesy Mark Dibner and the National Museum of American History. National Museum of American History Smithsonian Institution | Flickr
Stewart was an Army photographer in the 40’s, by the early 1960’s he was firmly established in the music field. He was part of The Beatles entourage when they came to America in 1964, and experienced the crowd frenzy. For the most part, in the 1940’s and 50’s he was the first African-American photographer that those employing him had ever met.
While many of Stewart’s artists pictures were used on the back covers of albums, aka the liner photographs, his work got a significant boost with the arrival of CD’s and booklets accompanying CD re-issues would include many more of his artist pictures.
Here are a small selection of my favorite Chuck Stewart album and CD pictures from Creed Taylor produced music.
Picture courtesy of northjersey.com
Born: Charles Hugh Stewart, May 21, 1927, Henrietta, Texas
Died: January 20, 2017, Teaneck, New JerseyPioneering photographer Chuck Stewart dies at 89 (northjersey.com)
What are you favorite Chuck Stewart pictures, covers or liner photographs. Leave a comment or contact us.