Giving thanks to Fred Seibert. He, along with Michael Cuscuna and Charlie Lourie from Mosaic are responsible for bringing forward many wonderful Francis Wolff pictures that never saw the light of day. I’m glad for all their diligent work. These pictures capture a historic moment in jazz. This is American history.
The backstory in Mr. Seibert’s words.
“Blue Note Records was formed in 1939 by two German immigrants to the USA, producer Alfred Lion and photographer Francis (Frank) Wolff.
Mosaic Records is the brainchild of Charlie Lourie and producer Michael Cuscuna. Early on they focused on the music of Blue Note Records —Michael literally wrote the discography— though neither of them had ever met the legendary founder Alfred Lion.
A few years after they started the business Alfred, retired down South, started a phone relationship with Mosaic, giving them tips and an occasional session photo. When he died, his wife Ruth called Charlie and Michael and offered them custody of Francis Wolff’s personal Blue Note photo archive, which was stored in her bedroom in a trunk, having never been touched since Frank’s death in 1971.
Every Sunday for months, Michael, Charlie and yours truly would painstakingly go through the negatives and contact sheets to archive the stuff. We launched Mosiac Editions to distribute the best work, and eventually Mosiac published the two books of Frank’s work referenced above" - Fred Seibert
You can see some of the pictures here on Fred’s Flickr page. I’ve shared some of them here, but I’ve been seeing these wonderful pictures pop up on various tumblr pages without crediting the people who worked tirelessly to get them out there. The least we can do is give a nod for their contribution. That’s the least!
The two books Mosaic published that contain the rest of the Francis Wolff pictures are this and this. They are both treasured by me. Highly recommended. I don’t think they are in print anymore, so whatever is out there is all that is left.