Program : 
William Gottlieb's Golden Age of Jazz
William Gottlieb

William P. Gottlieb, Washington, D.C., ca. 1940.

In memory of famed jazz photographer William Gottlieb (1917-2006), Riverwalk Jazz presents the tribute broadcast William Gottlieb’s Golden Age of Jazz. The hour-long broadcast includes in depth interviews with Mr. Gottlieb, who talks about his life in jazz creating legendary photographs of key figures. Exciting live performances by The Jim Cullum Jazz Band and their guests Clark Terry, Nicholas Payton, Topsy Chapman, Sweets Edison, Bob Wilber and Marty Grosz. Historical recordings of Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday and others complete this musical salute to the Gottlieb legacy.


From 1938 to the late 1940s, William Gottlieb captured jazz masters at work. There was a vibrant jazz scene in New York and his photographs of Lester Young, Duke Ellington, Django Reinhardt, Benny Goodman and many others document the era. The Washington Post and Down Beat magazine hired Mr. Gottlieb to simply write about jazz. When the publications turned down his request for a photographer to capture pictures of events he was covering, Bill Gottlieb taught himself how to take photographs. In the process, he created a legendary body of work. Gottlieb was paid only for his reporting and not for his photographs.


Among his most famous photographs from the 30s and 40s are color shots of New York City's jazz mecca '52nd Street' on a rain-soaked night, and his portraits of Billie Holiday.


Bill Gottlieb's jazz images have appeared in countless publications and film documentaries, including Ken Burns' Jazz. In 1994 the US Postal Service selected Gottlieb's portraits of Charlie Parker and Jimmy Rushing for a series of commemorative postage stamps.


Some 1,600 Gottlieb jazz photographs reside in the Library of Congress.


Photo credit for home page teaser image: William Gottlieb. Photo courtesy