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Jazz for Curious Readers
Carol Friedman, Photographer
May 4, 2009

A New York portrait photographer who has photographed icons of the art and music worlds for more than two decades, Carol Friedman's classic images of jazz, soul and classical recording artists have been published in books and magazines worldwide and may be seen on hundreds of album and CD covers. An avowed music lover, her early photo sessions with jazz masters, "the irreplaceable ones," defined and still inspire her work. Her process, rooted in her love of the music and a determination to reveal the depth of her subjects, was largely influenced by her teacher, Life Magazine photographer Philippe Halsman. Halsman's primary tenet—that a portrait is only successful if it reveals the inner emotional life of its subject—continues to inform her work.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, Friedman asked for her first camera, a Brownie, at age five. Picture taking and music were standard fare in her home, courtesy of her father, a talented amateur photographer and jazz aficionado. “My father's record collection was my 52nd Street—our Brooklyn apartment was filled with the music of Billie Holiday, Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, Lester Young and Sidney Bechet, as well as that of Bob Dylan, Odetta and The Weavers. There is no question that my childhood soundtrack created a foundation for my love of the music.”

Friedman began working as a photographer in the late seventies, shooting on assignment for fashion magazines and record labels, but changed gears when she became the Creative Director at Elektra Entertainment in 1985. She later
became Art Director and chief photographer for Blue Note Records and then served as Vice President and Creative Director for Motown. Throughout her career in the music business, she continued to shoot portraits of jazz artists.
She now works independently as photographer, designer and director on a variety of image campaigns, music packages and book and film projects.

Through the years, Friedman has designed and photographed album covers for recording artists including Dexter Gordon, Sarah Vaughan, Wynton Marsalis, Nina Simone, Cecil Taylor, Lena Horne, Bill Charlap. Jessye Norman, Etta Jones, Bebe and Cece Winans, Patti Austin, Yo Yo Ma, Terence Blanchard, Midori, Teddy Pendergrass, Joe Lovano. Al Green, Kenny Barron, Bobby Short, Gerry Mulligan, Anita Baker, McCoy Tyner, Ornette Coleman, Hank Jones, Dianne Reeves, Quincy Jones, Sun Ra, Gil Evans, Don Cherry, Abbey Lincoln, Bobby McFerrin, Randy Weston, The Modern Jazz Quartet and Zubin Mehta.

Friedman's first book, A Moment's Notice, Portraits of American Jazz Musicians, (Schirmer MacMillan) was published in 1984. Her acclaimed retrospective of her portraits of jazz musicians, The Jazz Pictures was published in 2001 by Arena Editions.

In 2003, Friedman founded Dominick Media to publish a collection of books and music for children. The Nicky the Jazz Cat series received The Benjamin Franklin Book Award, Parents' Choice Silver Music Award, iParenting Media Book and Music Awards, NAPPA Book Award and The American Library Association's Notable Children's recording Award. As a volunteer for Learning Leaders/Authors read aloud, she frequently reads to elementary school students. With Nicky as the perfect jazz ambassador, Friedman has produced several Jazz For Kids events with legendary jazz musicians for New York City public schools. She has served on the board of The Recording Academy, the GRAMMY organization, since 1986.

Friedman is the director/producer of Abbey Lincoln: The Music Is The Magic, a 16mm feature-length documentary film about singer Abbey Lincoln. The film was shot over a period of eighteen years and is now being edited for release in 2009.

Friedman lives and works in New York City, and frequents The Village Vanguard for continued inspiration.

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