Jim Marshall had an all-access pass with some of the 20th century’s greatest musicians.
He was the photographer when Johnny Cash flicked off the camera at San Quentin State Prison. He was backstage with Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. He toured with the Rolling Stones and photographed the Beatles’ final paid concert.
“He was one of the pioneers of music photography,” said Amelia Davis, Marshall’s longtime assistant. “People have called him pretty much the godfather of rock ‘n’ roll photography.”
Jazz connoisseurs have been hearing that eulogy for at least half a century. They're a picky bunch, often complaining about the quality of contemporary jazz while pointing to some golden era when "real" jazz thrived.
But if jazz did indeed die, what was the cause of death, and when did it pass away?
A new book, "Jazz Festival: Jim Marshall," offers some possible answers. It features a handsome collection of black-and-white photos of jazz icons playing for and mingling with the glamorous crowds at the Monterey Jazz Festival in the early 1960s. The photos were taken by the legendary music photographer Jim Marshall, who captured those final summers when jazz was still widely popular -- and when it started to lose its commercial appeal.