How Jazz Took Its Beat From Ivy Look Style

September 2016Words by Mr Adam Welch

Mr Teddy Edwards, Monterey 1963. Photograph by Mr Jim Marshall Photography LLC/Reel Art Press

Jazz has always been revolutionary. To music, it brought a new sense of rhythm, structure and harmony that rewrote all pre-existing rules. To a segregated the post-WWII US, it brought an opportunity for integration with its bars, concerts and festivals – events where black people and white people would congregate together, long before such fraternising ceased to be taboo.

It was also, of course, utterly game-changing when it came to style – little says that more than the fact that jazz gave us (or at least popularised) the words “hipster” and “cool”. And it had the clothes to match. This latter point becomes particularly clear upon flicking through Jazz Festival: Jim Marshall, a new, and rather awe-inspiring new photo book from Reel Art Press that collects legendary music photographer Mr Jim Marshall’s photographs of the Monterey and Newport Jazz Festivals from 1960-66.

The black-and-white images gathered here depict both the known and unknown – on one spread you might see bebop pioneer Mr John Coltrane performing on stage, on another, an assorted bunch of festival attendees sipping drinks in front of the bandstand. What unites them all is their ultra-sharp clothing, extolled at length by Mr Graham Marsh in his introductory essay, in which he describes the 1960s jazz festivals in Monterey and Newport as “a veritable catalogue of Ivy cool.”

That given, jazz hipsters had their own, timelessly stylish take on the Ivy Look, which still has many lessons to teach us, in this much-less-hip future we now inhabit. Here’s a few, drawn from some of MR PORTER’s favourite images from the book, which is out now.

Wear Sunglasses Constantly

Monterey, 1963. Photograph by Mr Jim Marshall Photography LLC/Reel Art Press