Keg Johnson, original, vintage, glossy, 8" by 10", b&w photograph, undated but certainly the late 1940's. Though lacking the usual photographer's stamp to the verso, this elegant, candid portrait of the fine trombonist is part of a small archive of photographs we've acquired by Richard Holtzclaw and the annotations to the verso are in his hand. Though regrettably little known today, Holtzclaw was Charlotte North Carolina's foremost jazz photo-journalist of the 1930's-40's, who photographed most of the major jazz orchestras and other entertainers of the era. His jazz photographs demonstrate an engaged and sympathetic eye and deserve to be better known; we have it from the previous owner that Holtzclaw's negative archive does not appear to have survived him which makes these original images scarce and of real interest to collectors of jazz photography. Johnson is caught onstage at the Armory in Charlotte where all of the Holtzclaw photos we've acquired were taken.
Homer 'Keg' Johnson (1908-1967) though not as well known as his younger brother, the eminent saxophonist and arranger/composer Bud Johnson , was a talented trombonist and subtle, fluent soloist. In his native Dallas, he began playing in local bands with his brother during the late 20's, before joining Louis Armstrong's band in Chicago in 1930 where he made his first recordings. During the 30's Keg played in some of the best bands of the day including those of Benny Carter, Fletcher Henderson and a fifteen year stint with Cab Calloway. In the 60's he recorded with his brother, notably on the wonderful session, Let's Swing, under Bud's leadership as well as with Gil Evans and was a member of the Ray Charles Orchestra, from 1961 until his untimely death in 1967.
The photograph is very good+ with light surface dings, touch of corner creasing, ghosting from a paperclip at the top left margin with a touch of spotting to top corner of photograph. A vintage photo portrait and a very scarce jazz collectible. J1565