Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.
Publicity photo c. 1935 for my great-great uncle's sweet jazz band, Walter Davison and His Louisville Loons. Walter, the big Irishman at left, fell in love with jazz sometime in the teens when he was managing a player piano company, for whom he played the original rolls on a marking piano from which the templates for the production rolls would be cut. The company released Jelly Roll Morton's piano rolls and it's entirely possible they were actually played by Walter imitating Morton. In the 20s he started a band-- actually he was from Detroit-- and they had a good decade or so of success as a house band at various picture palaces and so on, also recording a few sides for Columbia in the mid-20s. The band disbanded around 1936 and Walter went to work for Ford in the advertising department; at the time of his death he was president of a Grosse Pointe country club, which is surely a unique end in the annals of Jazz! View full size.