Uwe Rau: Odetta (Berliner Jazz Tage, Nov. 4th, 1973)


Uwe Rau (1936)

Odetta (Berliner Jazz Tage, Nov. 4th, 1973)


14” x 11”

Gelatin Silver Paint

Purchased with funding from the State of New York.  Percent for Art Program, 2004.

The Berliner Jazztage, also known as The Berlin Jazz Festival, began in 1964, making it one of the longest running music festivals in Europe.  Ironically, it was the famous jazz singers of America who created the sound and set the tone for the what the Berlin Jazz Festival has evolved into.  Odetta, photographed here by Rau, is one of those iconic voices in the history of Jazz. She was a singer, and also an activist. She sang at the March on Washington and Martin Luther King Jr. called her “The Queen of American Folk Music.” Odetta’s talent and storytelling skills made her an integral part of the history of jazz.  In this image Uwe Rau seems to catch her in a moment where it feels like you are standing in the room alone, and she is singing only to you.

-Amanda McDowall