Seattle-based music photographer Jef Jaisun is a recipient of the prestigious Keeping The Blues Alive award in Photography, presented by The Blues Foundation of Memphis, Tennessee.
Jaisun began shooting in Seattle area clubs more than 30 years ago and has been a mainstay on the national blues circuit for over a decade. His coverage area ranges from Chicago to New Orleans, Clarksdale to Los Angeles, and from Seattle to the Pocono mountains of Pennsylvania. He's amassed an estimated half-million images, predominantly of blues, rhythm and blues and jazz artists. His archives provide in-depth visual documentation of late 20th Century and early 21st Century blues history.
Jef Jaisun's work has been featured in every major American blues magazine and on the covers of numerous CDs. More than 250 of his images are in the Chicago Public Library's Blues Music Archives. His rare 1985 photo of B.B. King embracing the late Luther Allison at Switzerland's Nyon Festival is a highlight of 2006's KBA-winning book, The B.B. King Treasures. Jaisun's images have been selected for the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival Photo Exhibition three years in a row.
Since Hurricane Katrina, Jaisun has worked closely with the New Orleans Musicians Clinic and other relief organizations, both as photographer and fund-raiser. He claims close spiritual and musical ties with the Crescent City, and is a charter member of the New Orleans Photo Alliance.
A selection of Jaisun images is currently on display at Seattle's Highway 99 Blues Club. (Please see below for further information.)
This website features selected images as well as the Jef Jaisun Photo Archive. If you're looking for something or someone specific, especially in blues and jazz, please let us know. Chances are pretty good we've got the image you're looking for. All images are available for purchase. We also license for reproduction, and can send either hard prints or digital images. Please inquire by e-mail (jef at jaisunphoto dot com) for size, pricing and terms.
NOTE: All images on this web site are Copyright Jef Jaisun. No reproduction, copying or other use, electronic or otherwise, is permitted without the express written permission of the artist/copyright owner.
When the Highway 99 Blues Club, Seattle's premier blues club, wanted photo art, the first person they called was Jef Jaisun. As a result, the club opened with two dozen gallery-framed Jaisun gems on the walls. Many of the images had never before been seen by the public at large. Included in the ongoing exhibit is a 1977 photo of John Lee Hooker, a breath-taking 1985 octuple exposure of Bo Diddley, a gallery of late Northwest guitar icons Rich Dangel, Isaac Scott and Dave Conant, the late Mississippi Hill Country blues lady Jessie Mae Hemphill and a 1979 shot of a youthful Taj Mahal backing up the late Elizabeth Cotten. Other artists featured include Brownie McGhee, Pinetop Perkins, Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, B.B. King, Etta James, Albert Collins, Johnny Copeland and daughter Shemekia Copeland, Honeyboy Edwards, Robert Cray, Gaye Adegbalola of Saffire: Uppity Blues Women and jazz great Diane Schuur.
The Highway 99 Blues Club is located at 1414 Alaskan Way, across from the Aquarium on Seattle's waterfront. Check the club's website for showtimes and information.
Offbeat is New Orleans' outstanding monthly musical bible, covering every aspect of Crescent City music. Some of Jef's contributions to the magazine include:
Jef has been Blues Suede News staff photographer for over 20 years. Some of his more recent BSN work includes the Marcia Ball cover on the Summer 2008 issue and James Hunter in the Winter 2009 edition. Jef also photographed and authored the Fall 2006 BSN cover story on Janiva Magness. Jef has been contributing to Blues Revue for 10 years, most recently with images of Kenny Neal, Phil Guy, Hosea Leavy, Big George Brock and others.
Meet Ernie K-Doe, late legendary New Orleans recording artist, performer and self-proclaimed Emperor of the Universe. The above photo was taken at the WWOZ-FM interview tent during the 2001 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. K-Doe checked out for a better universe just two months later. A signed 16x20 enlargement of the photo was officially presented to K-Doe's now-late widow, Empress Antoinette, on October 6, 2001 at the First Annual K-Doe Fest. Jef's photo had already been transformed into the official K-Doe Fest poster.Coco Robicheaux made the presentation to Antoinette on behalf of Jef. The framed photo found a prominent place on the wall of the famed Mother-In Law Lounge, but was destroyed during Hurricane Katrina.
Everybody melts when they see Rosie Ledet. And if her looks don't get you her red hot zydeco rhythms will.
The above photo was among the featured images in a 45-print Jef Jaisun exhibition to grace the walls of the French Quarter's Hanson Gallery during Jazz Fest 2001. Presented in conjuction with WWOZ 90.7 FM, the exhibit moved to Generations Hall for the station's annual Piano Night festivities. Mr. Jaisun has been photographing Piano Night since 1998, his images of the late Eddie Bo having been used on the 2001 and 2003 Piano Night posters and t-shirts. Selected images from the exhibit were also displayed during Piano Night 2002. The collection was on loan to Eddie's Check Your Bucket club, and was lost in 2005 when the levees failed and the club was flooded. Sadly, Jef feels the loss of his friend and mentor Eddie Bo, on March 18, 2009, much more than he ever worried about the lost photos. Eddie's Obituary
Check out The New Orleans Collection: Hanson Gallery/Piano Night Preview Page. These thumbnails, from past Piano Nights, Jazz Festivals and New Orleans club gigs, capture on film the rich tapestry of the Crescent City's diverse musical culture. Everyone from Fats Domino and Irma Thomas to the Mardi Gras Indians is represented.
Don't forget to bookmark this page and check back. As the intro on the Archives page suggests, there are more than three decades worth of photos to sort, scan and upload. That may take a while.