I grew up in New York City, having Ornette Coleman as a stepfather.  Thelonious Monk often woke me up, playing my mother and Ornette a tune on “my” beat-up old upright piano at three A.M.

Both my mother and her sister broke ground among the first women working professionally and full-time in New York’s music business, working their way up – first as secretaries, and later in many roles particular to jazz.  One was Ray Charles’ personal assistant, helping to initiate his Tangerine Records, moving into artist management and promotion (including Ornette and Monk), international music publishing, and much more.  My aunt worked alongside Quincy Jones in his early New York career, working in Artists and Repertoire for Mercury/Philips records, where I occasionally played with Quincy’s daughter, and got to answer the old plug-in switchboard when the secretary went to lunch!  The Village Vanguard was my earliest baby-sitter, as both women also helped with booking there, as well as at the original Five Spot Café and The Village Gate.  Recording sessions and rehearsals also were fertile training grounds for my ears, and later photo work.

When I turned 12 in 1964, my aunt gave me my first camera, thus beginning my life-long career of documenting musicians at work.  Now I had the instrument (the camera), the music background, and familiar compelling subjects (performing jazz musicians).  Renowned photographer Herb Snitzer was doing jazz photography in New York for the old Metronome and Down Beat magazines.  Inspired by a Life Magazine assignment to England in 1962 to document the innovative Summerhill School, he came back so enthused that he and his wife bought land just across Lake Champlain from Vermont, and established the Lewis-Wadhams School.  I was one of their first students and was always at Herb’s side, both in his photography classes and in the darkroom, when he worked on his own frequent music assignments.  As classes were not compulsory, I was able to make a major time commitment towards my budding passion for music photography.  When finished with school I returned to New York City, where I worked in custom black and white labs honing my printing skills, and making my own living;  I was not yet sixteen years old.

Eventually, many recording companies relocated to Los Angeles, and in 1978 I followed, having just shot a Columbia Records recording session of Cecil Taylor and Tony Williams (later re-issued by Japan’s CBS/Sony label).  I lived and worked there until the late 1980’s, then relocated to Northern California, eventually returning to New York and Vermont, where I make my home.

Knowing musicians as family, as opposed to “stars” and public personalities, has afforded me access to relaxed relationships and photo opportunities.  My roster of shots includes many used for record covers and promotion/publicity shots, which the artists themselves request.

Throughout over fifty years of photographing musicians, I’ve gained the greatest pleasure and pride from being told by artists whom I’ve documented, “I can hear my music in your pictures”!

Although based in Vermont, I still get calls to come shoot special events or recording and concert appearances in New York.  I had a weekly music history radio program from 1998-2005 (with an occasional interview or live recording).  All programs were CATALOGUED and ARCHIVED (view).

Thank you for your interest.  Please feel free to CONTACT me if you have questions or comments about my work.