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Un air de liberté

Jesse A. Fernández

Exhibition from March 25th to April 23rd 2022
It is with music, it is with jazz, that galerie Orbis pictus is celebrating the spring of 2022 with an unprecedented musical collaboration with the French national radio FIP. To celebrate 40 years of jazz on the radio, a wind of freedom will blow with the exhibition of a selection of portraits by Jesse A Fernández of the greatest jazzmen and jazzwomen: Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Billie Holliday, Eartha Kitt, Charles Mingus, Max Roach, Sonny Rollins…

1 – Jesse A. Fernández
Dizzy Gillespie, Newport Jazz Festival, Newport, 1960
Modern silver print
40 x 30 cm

2 – Jesse A. Fernández
Miles Davis, Newport Jazz Festival, Newport, 1958
Vintage silver print
21,5 x 33,5 cm

In the United States, the 1950s were synonymous with a fundamental movement for equal rights. Jazz musicians overwhelmingly rejected “separate but equal” by taking a stand against any segregated gathering, concert, or event, in order to promote integration. Jazz was seen as the music of democracy and freedom for both blacks and whites. Here we saw the emergence of free jazz, a new genre that rejected the predefined norms of the time. Gone were the traditional melodies, rhythms and structures of the pre-war years, the sound became dense, modern, and often frenetic, bending the rules by abandoning any strict notion of composition or arrangement for a music open to infinite possibilities.

Free thinker and humanist Jesse A. Fernández (Havana 1925 – Neuilly-sur-Seine 1986) used his eternal Leica to seize intense moments of life and freedom. A visionary, he knew that the geniuses he was shooting would accompany and promote politically this new society in a prosperous America. It is therefore not surprising to find him, a true afficionado, among the spectators-actors of the Great South Bay Area Jazz Festival in 1958 and the Newport Jazz Festival of 1960, which largely contributed to writing the history of Jazz.

Like the music he photographs, Jesse refuses all established rules, and any agreed upon pose or posture, he captures a very intimate and personal side of his subjects, taking us all on an improvised musical journey.

Works

Jesse A. Fernández
Miles and Frances Davis, Newport Jazz Festival, Newport, 1958
Vintage silver print
32,1 x 22 cm

Jesse A. Fernández
Horace Silver, Great South Bay Jazz Festival, New York, 1958
Modern silver print
25, 40 x 50 cm

Jesse A. Fernández
Billie Holiday, Great South Bay Jazz Festival, New York, 1958
Modern silver print
50 x 40 cm

Jesse A. Fernández
Miles Davis, Great South Bay Jazz Festival, New York, 1958
Modern silver print
40 x 50 cm

Jesse A. Fernández
Percy Heath, Great South Bay Jazz Festival, New York, 1958
Modern silver print
50 x 40 cm

Jesse A. Fernández
Miles Davis, Newport Jazz Festival, Newport, 1958
Vintage silver print / Numbered modern silver print
21,5 x 33,5 cm / 40 x 50 cm

Jesse A. Fernández
Dizzy Gillespie, Newport Jazz Festival, Newport, 1960
Modern silver print
40 x 30 cm

Jesse A. Fernández
Eartha Kitt & Dizzy Gillespie, Newport Jazz Festival, Newport, 1960
Modern silver print
30 x 40 cm

Artist

Jesse A.Fernández