The music photographer David Redfern caught artists from Frank Sinatra and the Beatles to Arcade Fire in action, in almost half a century of globetrotting with a camera. Redfern was an informed and passionate jazz fan (the knowledge guided his sense of when to click the shutter), whose unobtrusiveness at work made him a favorite with musicians. He toured with Sinatra, could count several jazz stars as personal friends (Buddy Rich used to demand “Where’s Redfern?” on his opening nights) and his images adorning the walls at Ronnie Scott’s have long been crucial to the club’s unique atmosphere.
Above: Miles Davis performing at Ronnie Scott's in 1969 (purchase image here)
Perhaps most importantly, Redfern was an early explorer of jazz photography in color, at a time in the 1960s when the accepted wisdom was smoky low-light shots in monochrome. He liked working in daylight at the world’s jazz and rock festivals, and captured many of his images of 1960s rock celebrities on TV pop shows such as Ready Steady Go! and Thank Your Lucky Stars. Redfern’s images brought subcultures out into the open, and he often made jazz look like an open and exuberant pursuit, rather than a dark and downbeat one.
On 30th January 1965 he took this iconic photograph of English singer Mick Jagger of rock group The Rolling Stones, posed on the set of the ABC Television pop music television show Thank Your Lucky Stars at Alpha Television Studios in Birmingham, England. The band would play three songs on the show, Down Home Girl, Under the Boardwalk and Susie Q.