Ted Williams

Ted Williams (1925-2009) first heard jazz on the radio as a youngster in the 1930s in Wichita, Kansas. The sounds of Earl Hines, Duke Ellington and Cab Calloway broadcast from Chicago's legendary Grand Terrace Ballroom inspired him and in the late 1940s, Williams merged his love of music and photography and moved to Chicago where he captured unguarded photographic studies of some of the era's greatest jazz musicians.

His work appeared in major international publications including Time, Newsweek, Look, Playboy and Ebony. His coverage of the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival landed him a spectacular 21-page layout in Down Beat magazine. Williams was active on the jazz scene from the late 1940s until the late 1970s. He photographed many of the greats in jazz, including Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie and Louis Armstrong. Williams’ historic archive runs to more than 100,000 images and comprises perhaps the most intimate and complete collection of Jazz’s greatest musicians at work, rest and play.

Ted Williams Iconic News

Count Basie

Iconic Spotlight : Count Basie, by Ted Williams

If you lived in Chicago when jazz ruled the world, you knew the address of the Blue Note by heart.  Run by Frank Holzfeind, the original Blue Note proudly displayed a sign on the front door that read: “Here is America’s Music as Played by Its Greatest Jazz Artists.”  Every name in jazz graced its stage, with Duke Ellington even recording his famed ‘Live at the Blue Note’ album there in 1959.

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#FineArtFriday – Jazz Boxset

From the smoky backstage dressing rooms of New York and Chicago’s pioneering jazz clubs to the acclaimed Jazz festivals that flourished to enthrall legions of fans, Ted Williams’ camera captured the intimacy and the wizardry of Jazz’s greats as they perfected their art over more than three decades from the 1940s-1970s.

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Ted Williams Press

Hearing Music in Photos of Jazz Giants

A good jazz photograph tells its story musically as much as visually. More than images of rock, classical or hip-hop musicians, jazz images, like those of Ted Williams, who studied saxophone and clarinet before picking up the camera after World War II, seem to capture the intangible essence of a thought being transformed into sound.

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