If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.
You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...
Irwin Chusid, Jim Flora The Mischievous Art of Jim Flora Fantagraphics Books 2004 ISBN: 1560976004
Back in the day when album covers had an impact on music-buying decisions and didn't require a magnifying glass, Jim Flora, as described by this book's author, "wreaked havoc with the laws of physics .
The book is conveniently divided into basically five beautifully displayed sections of Flora's illustrative career, from his '40s and '50s Columbia and RCA-Victor album covers (the bulk of his renowned artwork) to his creations for Coda publications and Little Man Press (the first ever re-printing of these fabled illustrations) and a final section featuring his varied commercial work.
Though Flora knew each musician's style, most of the time he'd design covers without having himself even heard a single note of an impending release beforehand! His signature style overshadowed much of the music found therein and certainly suggested the music of the more experimental '60s era, which was still decades away, than the mainstream, Swing and Dixieland jazz his musical figures and shapes accompanied. His psychedelic and playful jazz caricatures and noodle-y warped instruments graced album covers by Gene Krupa, The Sauter-Finegan Orchestra, Kid Ory and others, exciting the imagination before the needle even dropped. Ironic, too, that with all the bright color combinations Flora used, he was partially color-blind. Around the time of rock 'n roll's emergence, however, album cover art design shifted towards photographs. Flora became a distinguished kid's book author/artist.
Perhaps JD King (illustrator, musician and writer with obvious Flora influences) sums up Jim Flora's style best: "He was the start of an illustration style that took the modernism of painters Miro, Klee and Picasso, blended it with a jazz sensibility and added a dollop of the Sunday pages .
I was first exposed to jazz while learning to play chess with my uncles. They would play smooth jazz, and then switch up to more standard types of jazz. But, when they played Kind of Blue by Miles Davis, I was
hooked and I haven't looked back.