OT: Favorite Jazz Album Cover

jazzmetal

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She was broken here one can hear it and the poignancy is, three months later she passed away.

Billie Holiday Last .jpg
 
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ocgvictoria

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I can't pick one, but nearly all of my favorites are Blue Note titles done by the great Reid Miles. he might be my favorite graphic designer, which really says something as I'm a graphic designer myself and into this stuff. Funny, but apparently the guy was fan of classical music and not jazz, though the covers that he created were so perfect for the artists they were for and have become so synonymous with the word "jazz." Interesting too that after such an illustrious career with Blue Note (the covers were never as good after he left) he became a commercial photographer, though apparently not a very celebrated one as I've never been able to find out much info on that. If he was good enough at it to earn a living and that's what he wanted to do than more power to him. I could see that there might be a certain level of satisfaction walking away from something that you're very good at to try your hand at something else.
Exactly. A good photograph is always a battle of form versus content. Many of Miles’s most famous covers were shot during rehearsals, or during actual recording sessions. In the documentary about Blue Note records, it shows how he would radically crop some of the negatives to work his magic. You can spot a Miles cover a mile away and as quoted above by 5Style, that “cover style“ became synonymous with jazz. Also, that Blue Note ”cover style” became synonymous with Blue Note’s constant quest for original jazz music. They didn’t want another version of Caravan or Autumn Leaves, they wanted original jazz music.
 
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5 Style

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Exactly. A good photograph is always a battle of form versus content. Many of Miles’s most famous covers were shot during rehearsals, or during actual recording sessions. In the documentary about Blue Note records, it shows how he would radically crop some of the negatives to work his magic. You can spot a Miles cover a mile away and as quoted above by 5Style, that “cover style“ became synonymous with jazz. Also, that Blue Note ”cover style” became synonymous with Blue Note’s constant quest for original jazz music. They didn’t want another version of Caravan or Autumn Leaves, they wanted original jazz music.
Yeah, to me most of the jazz album covers that I like the most are made with just type and photos with sometimes, in the case of that great Larry Young cover (that was mentioned here) just type. Illustrations are cool, but I like the simplicity of working with only type and photography... and somehow that approach really seems to fit this music. As a graphic designer, this really appeals to me and the great covers remind me of just how much it's possible to say with a clever arrangement of those two elements.

And you might already be hip to this, having watched the documentary but most of those great cover shots were done by Alfred Lion, one half of the Blue Note founding team and someone who was considered an amateur photographer. I don't feel like the label "amateur" though does justice to the man's contribution because if "photographer" was one of the hats that he wore in his business, then he is indeed a professional. His photos are no doubt more striking than others who are full time pros. They might even be better than Reid Miles' stuff in his second career as a photographer. So odd to me that he went onto being a pro photographer but that he didn't really do any of that in his work for Blue Note.

Also, I'd say that though there's less of it than on some other labels, that there are still plenty of examples of jazz standards that were recorded for Blue Note. With jazz it's kind of hard to get away from that as even the most wildly original artists like to mess around with interpreting old songs. I help run a local jazz festival and we started the thing with the intention of only booking artists that do original material. We realized though at some point that this was too tough a bar to stick to all the time, so we've kind of broken our own rule here and there and allowed some artists to play some jazz standard type stuff (though the vast majority of the artists do only originals). We (and I'm sure Blue Note was no different) like to believe that we showcase the type of artists who even when they're playing old songs, do so with a fresh, original approach.
 
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DrummerJustLikeDad

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Sentimental favorite here. Known this cover for all of my life. How often BOTH my parents spoke of how special Preservation Hall was to them.

Of course our copy had several autographs in ball point of whomever they’d been able to catch after the show they’d seen. I always heard about that and marveled at the place from afar.

Finally was able to go, my wife and I, a couple years ago. Wonderful!

9E06FD3F-1A62-443F-B4A7-6081B20F2508.jpeg
 

cruddola

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Forget iconic album, favorite drummer, most significant turning point in music history: this is all about your favorite album cover on a jazz record.

Mine is Dave Brubeck Quartet’s Jazz: Red Hot And Cool.

Here's the chill but sultry layup from a lamentably bygone world, too cool ever to contain the likes of me. I’ve even framed and matted my beloved Uncle’s personal copy to hang in our music room.

My Uncle once said it was so authentic you could hear the cocktail glasses clinking.

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I never knew Bill Gates played the piano!
 


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