The Beat Goes On

Jazz lives on through its musicians and art.
The Beat Goes OnEven though the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival may have ended on May 1, that doesn’t mean the city becomes quiet. Jazz plays here practically every night, deserving of both praise and a place in history. New Orleanian Skip Bolen, a photographer currently based in Los Angeles, comes back home to photograph jazz musicians, including that of Howard Johnson, best known for his finesse with the tuba. However, like many musicians, one shouldn’t pigeonhole Johnson—he also plays the baritone sax and trumpet, and has performed with Taj Mahal and in the “Saturday Night Live” band during the show’s early years. (One biography states he also played a “Bee” on the show. Could he have been one of John Belushi’s “Killer Bees”?)
This month, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art celebrates the work of Herman Leonard, a photographer whose work chronicles jazz pioneers. The exhibit, “Passport: Classic and Unknown Photographs by Herman Leonard,” will be on view until July 17. In this exhibit, you can see important figures from the history of jazz, and if you wander through the museum, you might just see other jazz greats immortalized in paintings or photographs (such as Bolen’s photograph of Johnson). •

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