Shutter and Sound, new jazz music exhibition at Chandler Museum, on view April 6- May 26

March 21, 2024
Billie Holiday

CHANDLER, Ariz. – Bob Willoughby (1927–2009) is perhaps best known for his candid photographs of famous Hollywood actors, but before taking photos on film sets, he captured many images of jazz musicians. Working in difficult lighting and crowded conditions, the images in Shutter and Sound: The Jazz Photography of Bob Willoughby are jazz improvisation made manifest. The images give the viewer a sense of vibrant intimacy as he captured wistful singers, jamming musicians and enthusiastic audiences.

By 1950, jazz had migrated its unique sound from the streets of New Orleans to American cities from coast to coast. In the 1950s, one of the foremost jazz scenes was in Los Angeles. Some would say it was due to the laid-back surfer culture of California, but the jazz of this region had a flavor all its own and is often considered the birth of what we know as “smooth jazz” today.

Willoughby photographed jazz greats such as Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck and Frank Sinatra, to name just a few. The 50 images included in the exhibit reflect the dynamic jazz scene of the 1950s. As musician Dave Brubeck said, “Willoughby not only had a good eye, he had a keen ear, and seemed to know when to snap at an inspired moment.”

Whether visitors are seasoned jazz fans, newcomers wanting to learn more about the music scene, or photography enthusiasts, Shutter and Sound is as enduring as the music.

Shutter and Sound is on view in conjunction with Jazz Appreciation Month and the Chandler Jazz Festival. Related programs at the Chandler Museum include:

Wednesday, April 10 and 24, 10:30-11:15 a.m. 

  • Art Tots Musical Art program for 3-5-year-olds

Thursday, April 11, 5:30-7 p.m. 

  • Jazz on the Move Concert: Beth & Jazz Con Alma

Wednesday, May 1 & 15, 10:30-11:15 a.m.

  • C-Town Suitcase Club Jazz program for 3-5-year-olds

The exhibit will be on view at the Chandler Museum April 6 through May 26, 2024. The Chandler Museum is located 300 S. Chandler Village Drive. It is open Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday 1-5 p.m. and closed on Mondays. Admission is free.  

Find more information on the exhibitions and programming visit Chandler Museum or by calling 480-782-2717.

Photo credit: Bob Willoughby (American, 1927 - 2009), Billie Holiday performing at the Tiffany Club, Los Angeles, CA, 1952; modern print, ink on paper, 13 x 12 inches; Courtesy of Elliott Gallery. © The Bob Willoughby Photo Archive.

Chandler Museum is an innovative learning environment where the community comes together to share our stories, store our cultural heritage, and experience Chandler as a people and place. The vision of the Museum is to be the community’s principal resource to explore its people’s history, culture, and place in a rapidly changing world of today – within and without the walls of a building. Find more information online at Chandler Museum.

About ExhibitsUSA

This exhibition is toured by ExhibitsUSA, a national program of Mid-America Arts Alliance. ExhibitsUSA sends more than twenty-five exhibitions on tour to over 100 small- and mid-sized communities every year. These exhibitions create access to an array of arts and humanities experiences, nurture the understanding of diverse cultures and art forms, and encourage the expanding depth and breadth of cultural life in local communities. For more about ExhibitsUSA, email ExhibitsUSA or visit ExhibitsUSA.   

About Mid-America Arts Alliance

Mid-America Arts Alliance (M-AAA) strengthens and supports artists, cultural organizations, and communities throughout our region and beyond. Additional information about M-AAA is available at Mid-America Arts Alliance.   

Media contact: 
Jillian Nakornthap

Exhibits Curator, Chandler Museum