Wolff (b. 1907 or 1908 in Berlin, Germany, d. March 8, 1971 in New York City) was a record company executive, photographer, and record producer. After a career as a commercial photographer in Germany, Wolff emigrated to the United States in 1939. In New York his childhood friend Alfred Lion had co-founded Blue Note Records in the same year, and Wolff joined him in running the company. During Lion's war service, Wolff worked for Milt Gabler at the Commodore Music Store, and together they maintained the company's catalog until Lion was discharged. Until Lion retired in 1967, Wolff concentrated on the financial affairs of the business and only supervised occasional recording sessions produced during his visits to Europe. For the last four years of his life, when Blue Note was no longer an independent label, Wolff shared production responsibilities with pianist and arranger Duke Pearson. Wolff took photographs during the recording sessions and rehearsals throughout Lion's tenure with Blue Note Records. They were used on publicity material and LP album sleeves, and have continued to be used in CD reissue booklets. [Redacted from Wikipedia entry.] Most of these images were made in the Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, N.J. or Englewood Cliffs, N.J.
Twenty-five silver gelatin photographic prints from negatives by the eminent jazz photographer Francis Wolff, depicting such greats as Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, and other important artists. These prints are posthumous, and most bear a "Francis Wolff Collection" blind stamp. Some have Morrison Hotel labels.
Francis Wolff Jazz Photoprints, 1953-1966, Archives Center, National Museum of American History. Gift of Michael Cuscuna and Mosaic Images
2011.3091 (NMAH Acc.)
Unrestricted research access on site by appointment. Unprotected photographs must be handled with gloves