Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Legendary Jazz Photographer Herman Leonard ...

came to Lakeland last week, to speak at the Polk Museum of Art, AND I MISSED IT! I just found out about it on Tuesday, thanks to a co-worker who's a trumpeter/flutist and jazz enthusiast.

(The above shot of Louis Armstrong is by Leonard).

Guess I wasn't paying attention and/or Leonard's talk, and the accompanying exhibition, just didn't generate the regional press coverage so richly deserved. Aurora Rodriguez did, however, write a nice piece on Leonard and the exhibition for The Ledger.

Leonard, who captured world-famous images of Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald, among others, is celebrated in "Artistic Stylings."

Leonard, you might recall, lost 10,000 prints to Katrina. Fortunately, he saved all of his negatives. He has more or less permanently relocated to Los Angeles from New Orleans.

The show continues through Nov. 12. The museum is located at 800 E. Palmetto St. in Lakeland; 863-688-7743;

Personal trivia: I last lived in Lakeland (my hometown) from 1986 to 1988, when I covered arts/entertainment for The Ledger. For part of that time, I rented a house that was near the old Polk Museum of Art. My roommate and I were forced to leave the house before our lease was up, because it was being torn down to make way for the new museum. And the museum kindly helped pay some of our relocation costs, because of the inconvenience.

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