Miles Davis holds his trumpet on stage during a performance in West Germany in 1959. That year, Davis released one of his most lauded albums, “Kind of Blue.” He recorded the tracks with an all-star group of musicians, including pianist Bill Evans, saxophonists John Coltrane and Julian “Cannonball” Adderley, drummer Jimmy Cobb and bassist Paul Chambers.
This shot of Louis Armstrong during a live show in 1940 showcases the performer’s famously expressive face. In addition to music, “Satchmo” was a beloved comedic performer who appeared in more than 30 films.
This shot, titled “Monk in Blue Hue,” shows pianist Thelonious Monk circa 1960. A clothing enthusiast, Monk was known for his hats and fashion choices as well as his virtuoso musical performances.
John Coltrane is sometimes called “Trane,” a fitting nickname for the saxophonist who took listeners along on sublime trips into the world of improvisational jazz. His music is so revered that a San Francisco church was named in his honor and anointed him a saint.
Trumpeter Art Farmer plays for a group of admiring children in this 1961 shot. In addition to the trumpet, Farmer was expert at playing the flugelhorn. He often played along with his twin brother, bassist Addison Farmer.
A young Dizzy Gillespie mugs for the camera in 1944. Gillespie would become highly recognizable for his “swollen cheeks,” though they’re not featured here, in addition to his virtuosity on the trumpet. He’s widely recognized as one of the godfathers of bebop.
Bassist Milt Hinton, pictured here in 1950, played with some of the biggest jazz greats of the 20th century, including Cab Calloway, Count Basie and Louis Armstrong.
Charlie “Bird” Parker is pictured with his saxophone during rehearsal for a performance in Denver in 1946. Parker is considered by some to be the best saxophonist of all time, and he was a pioneer of the bebop sound along with contemporaries like Dizzy Gillespie.
Legendary jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald has been dubbed the “First Lady of Song,” and she was beloved worldwide for her delicate phrasing and dazzling ability to imitate instruments and scat-sing. This photo from the August 1952 issue of Metronome was captioned “Ella Fitzgerald greets an admiring Junior upon her return from Europe.”
Composer and bandleader Duke Ellington hovers over fellow pianist and band member Billy Strayhorn in this 1948 photograph. Ellington’s catalog of more than 3,000 songs made him one of the most prolific and admired figures in American music. His best-known tunes include “It Don’t Mean a Thing if It Ain’t Got That Swing,” “Sophisticated Lady” and “Mood Indigo.” Strayhorn is known for his songs “Take the A Train,” “Lush Life” and “Chelsea Bridge.”