BBC Radio 3 – Sunday Feature – 7 Candid Photos of Jazz Legends
Over six decades, Val Wilmer has become "a world figure in the history of African-American musical culture". Her remarkable career has seen her interview and photograph almost every significant and influential figure in post-war jazz, blues and R&B.
In 1956, aged 14, Val took a snap at London Airport of a grinning Louis Armstrong. Since then she has covered names including Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, Sun Ra and Albert Ayler – as well as countless unrecognised men and women who have shaped African-American culture since the 1950s.
Radio 3's Sunday Feature: A Portrait of Val Wilmer talks to Val and discusses her career. Here are some of the photographs she's taken…
Louis Armstrong leaving London Airport for Ghana, with Clive Wilmer (Val’s younger brother, aged 11) in background. 1956.
Sunny Murray and son, at home. Carroll Street, Brooklyn, N.Y. 1966.
Donald & Albert Ayler. St Nicholas Park, New York. September 1966.
Archie Shepp. East 5th Street, Lower East Side, New York. 1971.
Charles Mingus, recording ‘Let My Children Hear Music’ (“the best album I have ever made”). New York City. 1972.
Pharoah Sanders, with Richard Davis (bass). Village Gate, New York. 1976.
Val Wilmer, with her portrait of Sun Ra in background. In conversation at The Wire Salon, Café Oto, Dalston, London. July 2017. Photo credit: David Corio.
Radio 3's Sunday Feature: A Portrait of Val Wilmer is broadcast on 4 March 2018 at 18:45.
Images supplied by Val Wilmer / David Corio, and are subject to copyright.