In another photo, a young Jackie McLean stands with his alto, his gaze fixed dead ahead in concentration, with trumpeter Bill Hardman next to him in the midst of a solo. There are also rare images from Duke Ellington’s historic Newport set in 1956, including pictures of the dancing blonde woman who galvanized the crowd during Paul Gonsalves’ famous tenor solo on “Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue.” In Don Hunstein’s photos that appear in the 1999 reissue of Ellington at Newport, we see the woman in three crisp and clear frames. DeCarava shoots her from four different angles, each progressively hazier until she becomes like an apparition in the last two tight closeups, arms raised over her head in frenzied motion.
The fact that DeCarava never worked with flash, but only with available light, led some to conclude that he had a dark style. “Not true,” Turner DeCarava countered. “The places where musicians played were generally dark, and Roy did not fight with this. He accepted the conditions that the musicians played in, which is emblematic of the music—it has a way of embracing all the daily issues that beset people and making art out of a rather simple and homemade environment.”