The great jazz bassist Milt Hinton was a lifelong photographer who took his camera with him wherever he went. Beginning in 1936, when the young Hinton first went on the road with Cab Calloway, Hinton took photos of his musician friends and colleagues at work and at play from New York City to Tokyo, in bars, bus stations, and recording studios.
Playing the Changes: The Jazz Photographs of Milt Hinton, a major retrospective of Hinton’s photographs, will be on view at the Mishkin Gallery from Friday, February 8 to Wednesday, March 5, 2008. Many of the images in this exhibition were only recently digitized from the 40,000 negatives Hinton amassed over a lifetime, and approximately half have never before been seen by the public. Opening Reception on Thursday, February 7, 6 — 8 pm. Free and Open to the Public.
Milt Hinton’s subjects included virtually everyone in the world of jazz: Cab Calloway, Billy Taylor, Willie “The Lion” Smith, Benny Goodman, Thelonious Monk, Gene Krupa, Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughn, Pearl Bailey, Ella Fitzgerald and Barbra Streisand, are just some of the performers Hinton captured in his candid, engaging black-and-white images. Individually, these photos are atmospheric and arresting. Collectively, they constitute an important sociological document, depicting the life of itinerant jazz musicians in the second half of the 20th century. This exhibition also includes four never-before-seen photographs of Hinton himself, taken with his camera, by an unknown friend or colleague who happened to be on hand.
Hinton lived in Queens, New York, for more than 40 years, and, though he never stopped performing, he also became a highly respected music educator. He taught a Jazz Workshop at Baruch College for many years, and the College’s Milt Hinton Jazz Perspectives series, now in its 16th year, is named in his honor.
This exhibition is being mounted in conjunction with the publication of Playing the Changes: Milt Hinton’s Life in Stories and Photographs, by David Berger and Holly Maxson (Vanderbilt University Press, 2008). Berger, who collaborated with Hinton during his lifetime on two prior books, will give a special Gallery Talk at 6 pm during the Feb. 7 opening reception. Music by the acclaimed coronet and trumpet player Warren Vache, Jr. and friends will also be featured.
The Mishkin Gallery is located at 135 East 22nd Street, New York City. Gallery hours are Monday to Friday, Noon to 5 pm, and Thursdays, Noon to 7 pm.
Contact: Zane Berzins