New Art Book by Photographer Ron Hudson: "Right Down Front" Celebrates Jazz Legends


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Right Down Front Ron Hudson-Jazz Images, a new book of jazz portraits by Seattle photographer Ron Hudson, is scheduled for release at Borders Books at the 50th annual Monterey Jazz Festival September 21.

The 144-page hardcover book is a collection of intimate portraits taken by a gifted photojournalist who documented hundreds of jazz legends across America and beyond.

“With an ear for music and an eye for expression, Hudson captures all the excitement and emotion of live performance on film," author Rick Carroll wrote in the Introduction. “You can almost hear the music."

Milt Jackson, of the Modern Jazz Quartet, is featured on the cover in a classic end of set shot at the 1985 Monterey Jazz Festival.

The 10.25 x 12.25 inch, $45 book with an introduction by noted jazz historian Dr. Herb Wong, features more than 100 images with memoirs, anecdotes, and technical data.

Mr. Hudson's collection charts his personal history of jazz, captures rare moments on and off stage, and recalls golden days of great performances.

A life-long jazz fan, graphic artist and weekend drummer, Mr. Hudson began in the '70s photographing artists in “live" performance at concerts, festival and clubs.

At 60-something, Hudson is Monterey's surviving senior shooter, the photographer who's focused his cameras there longest.

Over 34 years, he has appeared, mostly unnoticed right down front, never missing a beat, with camera and zoom lens trained on the long parade of artists who've made Monterey the legendary jazz festival it is.

Sort of a legend, himself, Hudson first attended the second Monterey Jazz Festival in 1959, and started carrying a camera in 1973 when he won Press credentials as a free lance photographer.

Since then, he's never missed a festival, used six cameras, (all Nikon), worn out a dozen lenses, and burned up enough 35mm black-and-white film to wrap a ribbon around the Monterey Peninsula.

“I have shot," Hudson said, “an average of 23 rolls of film per festival, so 23 X 33 years = 759 rolls X 36 or, approximately 27,324 frames."

At Monterey, he's photographed nearly 700 artists at 550 concerts for a total of more than 660 hours of jazz. Only the late great Ray Avery, a colleague and close friend, who photographed all but one festival until he died in November 2002, logged more time (43 years) behind the lens at Monterey.

Over three and half decades, Hudson has photographed more than 900 jazz artists at festivals from Monterey to Montreux.

Shooting high-speed black-and-white film with manual Nikon cameras in available light, Mr. Hudson captures jazz musicians at peak moments in their performance.

His work, on permanent display at Dimitriou's Jazz Alley in Seattle, will be featured at the 50th annual Monterey Jazz Festival this September. Mr. Hudson's jazz prints are in private collections of more than 200 jazz artists.

His work is featured in five books, Monterey Jazz Festival, Forty Legendary Years, A Paradise Called Pebble Beach, A Life in The Golden Age of Jazz, a biography of Buddy DeFranco; Take Five, The Public and Private Lives of Paul Desmond, and IZ: Voice of The People, the biography of Israel Kamakawiwo'ole.

Mr. Hudson is one of the featured photographers on All About Jazz, founder of Jazzpress, Seattle, and a member of International Association for Jazz Education.

Advance orders of Right Down Front are available now at [email protected].

Award-winning photojournalist Rick Carroll is the author of IZ Voice of The People, the best-selling biography of Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, a 2007 Kiriyama Prize Notable Book.

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