Herb Nolan

Herb Nolan is a photographer and writer living in Chicago. His body of work over the past forty years includes musicians ranging from Charles Mingus and Muddy Waters to Frank Zappa and Tom Waits. Herb shoots on black and white film which he prints and processes himself in his Chicago basement darkroom.

His photographs have been shown in the Illinois State Museum, published in Downbeat magazine, The Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun Times, The Chicago Reader and in many books, magazines, record album and CD covers, and were also included in the documentary "Muddy Waters - Can't be satisfied" as part of Public Television's American Masters series.

Herb on his 1976 Tom Waits photo shoot in Chicago - 

Copyright © Herb Nolan 2015. All right reserved. Not to be reproduced without permission

Copyright © Herb Nolan 2015. All right reserved. Not to be reproduced without permission

 Marv Holman called. he said he was interviewing Tom Waits. We both worked for Down Beat magazine at the time. "Bring your camera", he said. "I'll be at The Victoria Restaurant, I'm gonna try to get him across the street to Cliff Raven's (tattoo parlor)." Marvin thought getting a shot of Waits getting a tattoo would be great for the story. I didn't know Tom Waits, maybe I'd heard the name. The Victoria was under the L tracks on Belmont Street, it was not an upscale street. 

It was a cold day in 1976 and Waits was playing at the Quiet Knight almost next door to the Victoria and staying at The Wilmot Hotel, a transient lodging less than a block away. "I like The Wilmot", he said. "The manager likes staying downtown, I prefer The Wilmot, I just walk in and throw my key on the desk."

Tom's long wool coat, looking third hand, was thrown in a pile on the window ledge. He was drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes. His shirt sleeves were rolled up. he already had a tattoo "Nighthawks". His album "Nighthawks at the Diner" had been released less than 6 months earlier. Marv was taping the interview on his boom box, we weren't too high tech in those days. 

We will be working with Herb continuously over the coming months to exclusively bring you some of his incredible archive, featuring some of the worlds greatest jazz and blues musicians, both in performance and backstage.

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